NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES
3 3433 08234533 5
BY COUSIN ALICE.
"\ . n
The Debating Society. p 106.
OUT OF DEBT,
OUT OF DANGER.
ac, COUSIN ALICE.; - *L
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
346 & 343 BROADWAY.
B .*9 L
ENTBKED according to Act of Congress, in the ycir 1S55, by
D. APPLETON & Co.,
In the Clerk'e Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New
I. THE FAMILY GATHERING, . . .9
II. NEW-YEAR'S DAY, . ... 23
III. THE BESETTING SIN, . . . .34
IV. THE JOURNEY, .... 49
V. SCHOOL LIFE, . . . . .61
VI. EVIL COMMUNICATIONS, ... 77
VII. THE LOAN, . . . . . .89
VIII. THE DEBATING SOCIETY, . . . 106
IX. THE TEMPTATION, . . . .116
X. CONCEALMENT, . . . .131
XI. A TRUE FRIEND, . . . . .148
XII. FAMILY DISCUSSIONS, . . . .162
XIII. NEWS FROM HOME, . . . .174
XIV. THE CRISIS, ..... 189
XV. CASTLES IN THE AIR, .... 202
XVI. A HARD LESSON, .... 215
XVII. THE HOMESTEAD, . , . ,236
THE SIXTH HOME BOOK.
" So it's not a ' Juvenile,' after all," some one said,
who asked the title of the new home book.
" Not such very little juveniles as we have enter-
tained in our study," said Cousin Alice. " School
girls and boys."
" But boys and girls never get in debt," persisted
our o-ood little friend, who had never dreamed of such
a thing in her day.
" There are more ways than one of getting in debt,
I suppose you know," said Cousin Alice, going on
with her bouquet, laying a tea rose beside the heliotrope
in mignonette, for this conversation was in the little
parlor of Locust Cottage. " And as for children, why,
they may have the disposition, and show the lack of
principle earlier than you think for."
" Great Oaks from little acorns grow," said our
" Precisely," said Cousin Alice, " if you had taken
the cankered branch from that Ami Vibert rose at
" I should not have lost all my blossoms, I dare
say ; and so, Good-bye."
" Good-bye, for the present only, I hope," said
LOCUST COTTAGE, AUG., 1855.
OUT OF DEBT, OUT OF DANGER.
THE FAMILY GATHERING.
As one by one the cheerful group
In order take their place,
Mamma beside the hissing urn,
Presides with gentle grace.
" WHAT a terrible noise those children have been
making all the morning ! I declare they are
perfect little torments, it was impossible to
sleep ! "
" Oh, don't be putting on airs, Joe," returned
master Tom Bleeker to this elegant and sisterly
expression of feeling.
" No airs in the case," retorted Miss Jose-
phine, hugging her pretty little self in her scarlet
sacque. " It's a cold, uncomfortable morning,
10 OUT OF DEBT,
if it is New- Year's Day ; and I should think you
might poke that lump of coal, and let us have
a little more fire. I don't believe there's a bit j
in the furnace ; my room's like a barn."
"Poke it yourself," said Tom again, not stir-
ring' an inch from his comfortable seat, his fa-
ther's own especial lounging chair. " Girls
always want so much waiting on ! '
" What an affectionate pair ! ' somebody
said in a very much amused tone. "Go on with
the conversation, young people ; don't stop on my
Tom sprang up, abashed, to offer the chair to
his father, proving by the movement that he was
the possessor of considerable agility, which was
also shown in his tall, well-grown figure ; as man-
ly a lad of fourteen as one could wish to see.
Both the children had a strong resemblance to
their father, as he came and stood between them,
on the hearth-rug. A gentlemanly, good-natured
person he seemed, by no means old, and ar-
rayed in a remarkably handsome dressing-gown,
the tassel twirled in his white well shaped hands
as he stood with his back to the fire.
" Go on," he said, again turning half way to
Tom, as he patted Josephine on the shoulder.
" They have thought better of it," said an
OUT OF DANGER. 11
equally pleasant voice, as a lady, Mrs Bleeker
herself, came from the next room. .
There was a reproof in the tone, though it was
so kindly, which Mr. Bleeker's laughing cheek
had not conveyed. Tom especially looked
ashamed of himself, as he wished his mother
" Oh, it's New- Year's Day ; we must make
allowances," said Mr. Bleeker, unfolding the
Herald. " Steamer in, I see. Let them have
their own way for once in their lives, poor
Mrs. Bleeker, as a good wife, did not care to
argue the point before her children, but as a good
mother she knew it was best never to lay aside
wholesome restrictions. So she asked Tom to
ring for breakfast, showing him that he was to
make himself useful ; and commissioned Jose-
phine to go to the nursery, and bring the children
down, as they were all to come to the table that
morning. It was an errand the young lady did
not much fancy in her present mood ; and she
did not receive the shout of " wish you happy
New- Year ! wish you happy New- Year ! ' ' which
greeted her entrance, quite as graciously as she
might have done.
" You can all come to breakfast. There, don't
12 OUT OF DEBT,
tear the house down, Peter ; oh, my apron, take
care ! Kate*! don't hang on to me so."
" Won't you speak to Nannie, Miss Jo-
sephine ?" said the civil nurse-maid, holding up
a bright, healthy-looking baby. " So it was
abused , and shut up with its little lovely self,
it was ; an' every body going down to papa.
Keener ! keener ! keener ! ' and the crowing,
kicking baby was tossed towards her elder sister,
with such a loving, bright little smile, that even
Miss Josephine in the dignity of her thirteen
years, and one term at boarding school, was
beguiled into a little romp with her, and felt
the better for it, as she went down stairs again.
The whole party in the dining-room were in
the highest spirits, for besides New- Year's and
breakfasting down stairs, which did not happen
every day, they had caught glimpses of various
packages and parcels arranged on the piano in
the next room.
" Me next, Oily ! " pleaded the shy Lucy,
made bold for once in her life by the excitement
of the moment.
The Bleekers were "a large family," as their
friends often said, wondering Mrs. Bleeker kept
her senses, with so many children about her.
Lucy, holding up her birds-eye dinner apron,
OUT OF DANGER. 13
was five years old ! Oily, who had just settled
the boisterous Kate and noisy Peter, on im-
promptu high chairs manufactured of music
books, was scarcely ten ; yet she was as moth-
erly almost to the younger ones, as Mrs. Bleeker
herself. Every body liked Oily, Olive by de-
sert, yet she was not pretty, or clever, as Jos-
ephine had always been. Mr. Bleeker called
her " Hurnpty-Dumpty," half the time, which
she did not mind in the least, but rather liked ;
as he never did so when not in good humor.
Her square, stout little figure, in green merino
dress, and black silk apron, was seen up stairs
and down stairs, bustling about at every-body's
service ; while Josephine rocked away, book in
hand, perfectly oblivious of all but self-evident
Mrs. Bleeker certainly needed her active
little aide-de-camp, to keep the table in order.
Mr. Bleeker, in high good humor, was for help-
ing the children to every thing they wanted ;
New- Year's day being the excuse again. It was
Olive, who substituted hominy for the oysters
that were passed to Kate, and dusted Peter's
soft-boiled egg, with the bottom of the pepper-
box. Lucy, afraid to urge her claims, would
have gone hungry, in the midst of plenty, at
14 OUT OF DEBT,
least long enough to get heart-broken, and so
spoil it all when it did come, if Olive's quick
gray eyes had not spied the empty plate and
Meantime Josephine eat on in undisturbed
enjoyment, of fish, flesh, and fowl within her
reach, only stopping to protect her scarlet sacque
from the inroads of Peter's spoon on one side,
and Kate's hominy and milk on the other.
For a while at least, no one attempted to
quell the strife of tongues, so suddenly let loose,
in the usually peaceful dining-room.
" Dear me> Katie, how tipsy you pass your
plate," remarked Peter, having scraped the bot-
tom of the egg glass, until it was almost as clean
as when it came from the china closet.
" There ! all over my lap ! ' exclaimed the
" Then you ought to have passed it for her ! '
responded Master Tom, who felt very virtuous
himself that moment, buttering a second slice
of bread for Lucy. " Lazy folks take the most
pains ! dont they I say, Lucy di Lammer-
" My name isn't Anna More," said the indig-
nant little one, appealing to her mother, " is it,
mamma ? My name is Lucy Barnard Bleeker.
OUT OF DANGER. 15
I'm five years old next March ! ' proceeded she,
with rather more spirit than usual, confident
that she knew this fact at least.
" Well done, little one, " said Mr. Bleek-
er, leaning over Torn to the sugar bowl, and
bowling a lump, by way of reward, down the
table ; which notice from her father so aston-
ished Miss " Lucy Barnard," that she was
hushed forthwith, and for the rest of the break-
" What a pretty cap mamma's got on, Peter !
Mamma, what makes you wear caps to break-
fast ? You don't wear them any other time."
" I know ! " answered the urchin, before Mrs.
Bleeker could offer any satisfactory explanation
to Katie's inquiring mind.
" Well, why ? ' said Kate, in the most pro-
vokingly incredulous tone ; as much as to in-
quire, " what do boys know about caps ? '
" Because she'd take cold, leaving off her
night-cap so suddenly ! ' shouted the young
gentleman, his face growing very red, with the
feeling that may-be he was not right after all,
and every body would laugh at him.
" At our school," began Josephine, desiring
to give her mother still further particulars of
that wonderful place ; but Tom's voice was loud-
16 OUT OF DEBT,
er still, and " you ought to have seen us boys, '
was all Mrs. Bleeker could make out above the din.
" Peter had tongue twice ! ' remonstrated
"You don't need any at all," was Mr. Bleek-
er' s answer, as he supplied the offered plate lib-
" Well, Lucy has eaten all the butter oft',
and left the bread ! '
" It's not Lucy's bread at all. Stop, Torn ;
she doesn't get butter," said Olive, with author-
'' She shall, if she wants it, to-day at any
rate." Mr. Bleeker sent a slice to the sober lit-
tle thing, that had been buttered to suit himself.
" Please not, papa/' urged Mrs. Bleeker, at
this new breach of nursery discipline.
" Oh, do let the children enjoy themselves."
" Not at the expense of a sick day to-mor-
row," said Mrs. Bleeker, pleasantly. "No, my
pet, butter does not agree with Lucy, don't you
recollect ? '
" Mamma, can I have a cup of coffee, just this
once ? " asked Peter, emboldened by his father's
remark, and not stopping to notice the prohibi-
tory law enforced. But Mrs. Bleeker had corne
to the conclusion that every body had about
OUT OF DANGER. 17
breakfast enough, and rang to have it removed
" Hurrah ! now for the things ! ' shouted
" I hope and trust," said Katie, famous for
her use of grown-up words and phrases, a that
I shall get a fur tippet/ 3
" I want a watch ! " said the aspiring Peter.
" Tom, have you got a watch ? '
" No, indeed, I wish I had ! all the boys
have watches. What have you set your heart
upon, Joe ? '
"Lots of things a gold pencil for one, and
a new journal, a silk apron, or a bracelet ; Cle-
mentina* had a splendid one on her birthday. I
should think I might begin to wear jewelry now.
There conie the doors open. Oh what quanti-
ties of parcels ! How you do tear about, chil-
dren ! '"'
" Number one ! ' called out Mr. Bleeker,
from the piano, and handing a very significant
box to Master Tom, at the same time.
" Number two ! ' and Josephine's eager
hands received a similar mysterious pasteboard
enclosure, while Mrs. Bleeker added her offering.
No one was forgotten, not even Eliza, the
good-natured nurse, who had brought the crow-
18 OUT OF DEBT,
ing, happy baby, for her present, and Susan,
the cook, wiping her hands on her apron, though
they were clean as hands could be, before she
took the new mousseline de laine dress that fell
to her share.
Peter sprang a huge watchman's rattle, and
blew a pretty good blast on a miniature bugle
at the same time. Katie held up her apron for
more, incredulous that such a big pile of things
could be disposed of in so short a time.
"And, mamma, what did you get, mam-
ma ? " asked Oily, more than satisfied with her
own share, and finding time to exclaim with
all the rest over theirs.
"Let us see, first, what mamma has for
me/' said Mr. Bleeker, pausing with his hand
on the very last package, and his face quite
radiant with thinking of the great surprise and
pleasure in store for his wife. " Sensible to the
last degree ! Only look, Joe, what a gift for a
woman of taste like your mother ; half a dozen
" But she hemmed them beautifully, her
own self; she would not even let me touch
them/' said Olive, feeling very much aggrieved
that her mother's gift, which had taken all her
leisure moments for a week, was not properly
OUT OF DANGER. 19
appreciated. " And see, papa's name in the
corner ; we marked them last night, didn't we,
mamma. I mean I brought the hot iron, and
held the ink."
" They are very nice indeed, really very
fine," said her papa, in answer to this eager
appeal. " Mamma's stitches are always nicely
set. I shall have to wear one to-day, and she
must wear my gift too. There, my dear, what
do you think of that?" and he threw over her
shoulders a rich India scarf, as she received his
proffered kiss of acknowledgment for the hand-
kerchiefs. Certainly there was a wide difference
between the two gifts.
It may have been that thought which
flushed Mrs. Bleeker's face, as she unconsciously
gathered the rich scarf into graceful folds.
Josephine, who began even thus early to under-
stand the value of a cashmere, wondered that
her mother received so costly a gift so quietly.
Her father was piqued as he noticed it, and
said, as if hurt by his wife's coldness,
" Doesn't it please you, Ellen ? "
"It is very, exquisitely beautiful," she
could not conceal a little womanly pride in the
possession, of a real India scarf, " but '
" Oh, no < huts/ " interrupted Mr. Bleeker.
20 OUT OF DEBT,
quickly. " If you like it, wear it that's all ;
if not, I dare say Stewart will take it back
His tone was very different from the good-
natured bantering he had used all the morning,
and Josephine thought " father had a right to
be cross/' as she kissed him very affectionately
for her long-coveted gold pencil.
A little shadow it did not seem as if it
had never been there before came over Mrs.
Bleeker's face ; but she only folded the scarf
very exactly in its original folds, and returned
it to the curious silken box in which it had
come. Olive, standing nearest to her, heard a
little sigh, but she spoke just as pleasantly a
moment after. No one seemed to remember it,
but Olive afterwards saw her mother go up to
their papa, standing then with his back to the
fire-place, and placing her hand on his shoulder,
look up into his eyes a minute as she sometimes
looked into hers when she had been doing wrong.
Olive would rather she would scold any time.
" You know what I mean," her mamma
said, very quietly.
" I know you are the dearest and best wife
in the world," he said, kissing her cheek ; and
Olive, who had felt her newly-acquired gray
OUT OF DANGER. 21
squirrel nauff as nothing in the balance of her
mother's unhappiness, stole away quite relieved,
and coaxed the children back to the nursery,
pretending that she was " little boy blue " and
they her sheep, as she sounded Peter's bugle
" I've a great mind to take Tom with me,"
said Mr. Bleeker, as he tied his neckhandker-
chief in an elegant bow, an hour after. " Tom !
where are you, Tom ? here, I propose being
bothered with you this morning/'
" To make calls ? 0, please do, papa ;
there's my new cap and coat, you know."
" Tom is a true Bleeker," said his father
again, as the boy darted away to refresh his
toilette. How do you like this vest, my dear ?
Mr. Bleeker's New- Year's present to himself.
St. Leger considers it one of the handsomest he
has made up this year."
" It is in perfect taste," and Mrs. Bleeker
dashed one of the new handkerchiefs with the
faintest possible touch of Jean Marie's Cologne,
from a quaint flask, proclaiming ft to be genuine.
" And you have a new cane, too, I see."
" Yes, isn't that worth having ! I forgot
to show it to you. The handle is carved from
a solid agate. I told St. Leger I did not need
22 O U T O F D E B T ,
it, and he would have to wait for his money, but
he insisted on my having it. Where are my
gloves a fresh pair of Alexandres, if you please,
Kate. Now look your prettiest ; your dress will
suit you, I hope. Where's Tom ? '
" Torn ! " shouted Mr. Bleeker on the stairs,
and " Tom ! ' called Josephine twice, at the
door of his room, before the young gentleman
made his appearance, assuming his jauntiest
air, and pulling out the tip of his handkerchief
in relief upon his dark coat, as he had seen his
" Here comes the young coxcomb ! Make
my compliments to your visitors, Ellen ; " and
Tom followed his father into the handsome
sleigh awaiting them at the door.
OUT OF DANGER. 23
NEW- YEAR'S DAY.
" And girls, nowadays, imagine themselves women before they leave
JOSEPHINE thought her mother needlessly strict,
because she would not allow her to sit in the
parlor, and see company. " If Tom could go
out with his father, she did not see why she
was not old enough to be down stairs. There
was not such a great difference in their ages !"
She hung about the borders of the " En-
chanted Ground " all the morning, restless and
discontented. She could not set herself steadily
about any thing.
First she watched her mother dress, examin-
ing, and remarking upon every article.
" Oh, what a pretty handkerchief, mamma ?
Did I ever see it before ? Why don't you put
your hair into a French twist ; I'm sure I could
24 OUT OF DEBT,
do it for you if you would let me ? Won't you
put on but one bracelet ? I'm sure if I had
three bracelets I should wear them all. Is this
grandmother's hair, or aunt Lucy's ? Did you
have a gold pencil when you were a little girl,
mamma ? " until Mrs. Bleeker, dressing in
haste, was obliged to say " My dear child
you are disarranging every thing you really
must let my things alone, or I shall have to send
you out of the room."
So she amused herself at the window a little
while, until she saw her mother take a silk dress
from the wardrobe, and lay it across a chair in
" Why, mamma ! I thought you were going
to have a new dress to wear to-day ? I am sure
papa said ' your new dress,' and I have seen
that a hundred times."
"Not quite; what is the fault with it,
Josephine ? It is fresh, and a color that your
papa likes, and by no means old-fashioned."
" Well, I'm sure papa said a new one. It's
pretty enough and then, there's the scarf.
May I get it out, mamma ? '
" Stop, stop," Mrs. Bleeker was obliged to
say more quickly than she generally allowed her-
self to speak, for Josephine, pulling up the box
OUT OF DANGER. 25
cover, would have had it unfolded in another
second. " I'm not going to wear it ; and it is
very difficult to get it back in the same folds.
I should not have time for it now."
b ' Not wear papa's present ! when it's so
lovely too ! Oh, please let me show you how nice
it will look over that gray silk mayn't I ?
" There's a ring/' -said Mrs. Bleeker, to
Eliza, who was chambermaid as well as nurse.
" See that Ann is dressed to go to the door,"
and the box was put on to an upper shelf in the
wardrobe, and Mrs. Bleeker hurried down stairs
without more ado.
i Mamma is so cross, and unaccountable/'
thought the discomfited Josephine, thus left to
Eliza's society ; " I think papa is a great deal
the nicest. I'm glad I'm not Oily, to have to
tend the baby while Eliza makes the beds.
Well, here's a splendid chance to try and do my
hair as I saw that fashion plate, hand-glass and
all ; " so Josephine brought brushes, and hair
pins, and spent an hour very industriously in
trying to dress her hair after a French fashion
Of course she did not succeed, not under-
standing the secret of securing it firmly, and
26 OUT OF DEBT,
the heavy braids would tumble down, until she
lost her temper, and tossed the hand-glass on the
bed, obliged to be content with the old way after
By this time the street was filled with car-
riages and sleighs, and gentlemen on foot, all
very eager, and in a great hurry, getting in each
other's way, and consulting visiting lists, as they
ran up the steps of the opposite houses, and pul-
led the bells, or ran down and off again as if they
had more to accomplish than they knew how to
get through with.
Every time their own bell rang, Josephine
flew to the stairs, and leaned over the banisters,
so that it was a wonder that she had not broken
her neck before the morning was over. Some-
times she saw gentlemen pulling up their gloves,
and settling their collars before the little glass in
the hat stand, or Ann passing through the hall
with a fresh supply of cake in the silver basket,
or clean cups on a tray, and at noon a plate
was sent up to each of them, Olive and Joseph-
ine, with a selection from the lunch table in the
back parlor, at which all the visitors were in-
vited to help themselves.
Josephine called Olive, and helped her in the
OUT OF DANGER . 27
most patronizing way, to one of these well-filled
" And there's nuts, and raisins to come,
Ann says. So we'll settle ourselves at the win-
dow, so that we can eat and talk, and watch
the people at the same time. This is very nice
cold turkey ; I like the white meat, don't you ?'
" No, I believe I like a drumstick as well
as any thing, and I admire ham sandwich.
Have you got one ? How nice it must be to
pay calls on New- Year's day, and be able to help
yourself every where. But I don't know but
that it's nicer after all to stay at home, with a
whole table full of things. I wonder if mamma
eats a little bit between every call ? Have you
been down, Josephine ? '
" No," said her sister discontentedly. u I
should think I might, though. Mother's so par-
ticular ! Clementina Jones sees calls, and has
ever since she can remember. She says all the
gentlemen notice her, and praise her. I wish
you could see her, Oily. She's perfectly lovely ! "
" Has she got long ringlets all round ? " in-
quired Olive, pausing from her vigorous attack on
the drumstick, " with large blue eyes ? '
To Olive's unsophisticated taste, her great
wax doll was still the type of perfect beauty.
28 OUT OF DEBT,
" Why no not exactly, she papers it some-
times, and then her nose- -I tell you, as a great
secret, Olive, her nose does turn up. But
she has such elegant dresses, and lots of pocket
money, arid plays so splendidly, better than some
of the real old girls. Miss Anthon always calls
on her when there's company, and we are de-
"Oh!" said Olive, simply. " The plate
did not hold so much, did it, after all ? Here
comes the nuts though. Who else do you like,
Joe ? "
" Why there's Miss Fanshaw. She's one of
the real old girls, in the fourth year, but I love
her dearly, she's so amiable. Why she must be
all of sixteen, I should say."
" How very old/' said Olive, " quite grown
up. I do believe this is a Philcepena ! Can
you hear it rattle, Joe ? I mean to ask Tom to
eat it with me, that is, if you don't mind. I
suppose she's the best scholar/'
" Oh no, she isn't ! Ann Brown's the best
scholar. Isn't it an ugly name ! and she's as
plain as oh, as any thing you ever saw. And
only think, Olive she sweeps the school-rooms,
and halls, to pay her bills ! Did you ever hear
any thing like that ! Clementina never speaks
OUT OF DANGER. 29
to her, and says she shouldn't wonder if her
father took her away when he comes to know
" Well, I like to sweep, may-be she does."
" Oh, you don't understand ! We have to
sweep our own rooms, which is very mean, I must
say, but we leave the dust all at the door, and
Ann has to see to it. No, she's poor, child !
and has to work for her living. She's going to
be a teacher. Give me two or three raisins just
to finish my nuts, that's a good girl ; I don't
think I had quite as many as you to begin
The little girls were still for a few minutes,
searching industriously among the empty shells
to see if they could not find one that had been
passed over. Josephine was successful, and broke
out again presently with,
" Don't you think mamma is dreadfully
strict, Olive ? I like papa a great deal the
" Why," said Olive bluntly, " no, I don't,"
" He does not see every little thing, and hear
every little word so. And then he makes such
elegant presents, and mamma such little ones.
Just think ! only a needle-book ! '
" Let me tell you, sister," said Olive in eager
30 OUT OF DEBT,
vindication, " mother has hardly oeen out of
the house for a month, getting our New- Year's
presents ready. I'm sure you wrote home that
you'd lost your needle- book, and I should have
made vou one, but I could not sew nice enough/
*- j O
" When papa came at examination," con-
tinued Josephine, " every body admired him so
much. I wish vou could see Clementina's father !
He's nothing to compare with ours ! He laughs
so loud, and he chucks the girls under their
chins ! Every body said he was so good-natured
and amiable. Papa I mean, not Mr. Jones."
" Well," said Olive, smoothing the few re-
maining shells out of her apron, and rising re-
luctantly, " I suppose I must go and see to
the children, while Eliza gets her dinner. I
wish you would come too."
" Oh, don't ask me. No, I can't. It's so
1 poky,' up in the nursery, and Peter and Kate
make such a racket.' I want to finish ' Langley
Dale/ Did I ever tell you about our dialogues
in any of my letters ? No, I didn't, I believe.
Well put me in mind to-night," and Josephine
settled herself on the lounge with her new book,
while overhead Olive taxed her invention to keep
the riotous children in order.
Mrs. Bleeker had a great many calls that
OUT U F DANGER. 31
day, for her husband was fond of society, and
liked to have her keep up a large circle of ac-
quaintances. There was not much variety in
the conversation, it is true, old Mr. Gleason's
visit seemed as an example for all.
First, he said, " it was very cold/' then, that
" it was very bright overhead;" then that he had
met Mr. Bleeker and Tom, who were looking re-
markably well. Then he took up his hat, and
laid it down to take a cup of coffee from Ann's
tray, which he held about half a minute, and set
down on the mantel-piece without tasting. Af-
ter which he took up his hat again, and said,
" Mrs. Bleeker was looking very well; what a
fine old Knickerbocker custom this was, of mak-
ing New- Year's calls/' and " it was getting late ' ;
as he bowed himself out of the parlor.
Mrs. Bleeker left alone, walked to the win-
dow, and saw him helped into his sleigh, and
almost . covered with Buffalo robes by the
black driver. She wondered, as she stood there,
whether it was such a fine old custom after all,
paying New- Year's calls. She knew that many
people had been going about all day, drinking
much more wine than was good for them, and
others were spending much more money than
32 OUT OF DEBT,
they could afford, on their dress, and the re-
" And how many gay compliments have
heen paid and listened to, with a heavy heart,
if the truth was known," she said to herself, as
she noticed the short winter's day was already
The shadow of the morning came back to
Mrs. Bleeker's smooth, open brow. But what
could she have to make her unhappy ? Up
stairs her healthful merry children were playing,
around her was every comfort, and many
luxuries. The pictures, the statuettes, the " won*
derful nothings," with which the mantel and
bookcases were strewn, had been especial gifts
to her from an affectionate, indulgent husband.
More than one lady welcoming the gay, hand-
some Mr. Bleeker, as a guest, had called her
an enviable woman, that very day.
You could see that she had been beautiful.
as she leaned against the curtain, its color send-
in an unwonted glow over her cheek, but her
O o j
eyes and brow seen in the wintry twilight, had a
careworn, troubled look, as of some ever present
But there were quick steps in the hall, Tom
unceremoniously brushing past his father, and
OUT OF DANGER.
Mr. Bleeker coining in hat in hand, with great
mock decorum and seriousness to make a formal
call. The little ones privileged again, rushed
down in a body to tea, and a gay evening ended
the first day of the good year 1850.
34 OUT OF DEBT,
T HE BESETTING SIN.
This is the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.
" Debt, however cautiously it be offered, is the cup of a siren, and the
wine, spiced and delicious though it be an eating poison."
" You don't care for company/' said Mr. Bleeker,
kicking off his boots on the hearth rug, and call-
ing Ann to come and take them away. He had
been proposing a supper party to his wife, of only
a few friends. Mrs. Bleeker did not seem to
" Yes, sometimes ; but there will be a great
deal to do on Thursday, getting the children off
to school again ; and if we hire a waiter,-
" What's that ! " interrupted Mr. Bleeker,
catching sight of a yellow envelope on the man-
tel piece, tucked between the tea bell and the
clock, as if it was to be mailed, or had just ar-
rived. " Who have you had a letter from ?
Two of them, are they ? "
OUT OF DANGER. 35
Mrs. Bleeker went on with her sewing. She
knew the storm would come soon enough, and
she did not wish to hasten it. She had been
looking forward to it in a kind of nervous trepi-
dation all day, and now her heart beat very fast,
and her hand shook, though she was only too
well accustomed to such things.
Her husband tore off the wrappers, and un-
folded the enclosures in ominous silence.
" Blake ! well I must say he's in a hurry for
his money. This is only the 4th. What have
we had there lately, Kate ? I did not know we
owed him any thing."
" You forget the new tea set."
" Yes, and half of it's broken by this time,
I dare say. You have the most careless serv-
ants about this house, that I ever saw. ' Half
a dozen goblets,' why, we had two dozen only
last year !- ' one decanter, two fruit-dishes ! '
What do you think the sum total is ? ' and he
dashed his hand upon the mantel violently.
" I have no idea," said Mrs. Bleeker, gently.
" You sent nearly every thing home yourself,
Richard. Those goblets are the Bohemians you
took a fancy to, I suppose."
" Oh, yes, it's always me ! ' retorted her
husband. W T here was the elegant, the amiable
36 OUT OF DEBT,
Mr. Bleeker, now ? "I suppose this bill of
Stewart's is all my making. Two hundred and
seventy-five dollars, thirty-nine cents ! I hope
he may see it to-morrow ! Bills, bills, bills, for
a month now ! That's all the good one gets of
New-Years ; nothing but bills ! '
" It would have been twenty dollars more, if
I had bought the dress you wished me to have
for New-Year's day. 1 have tried to be very
economical this winter. I had no idea the
amount was so great. May I take it a mo-
ment ? There may be some mistake."
He tossed it over his shoulder into her lap
without turning round, and crossed his arms
moodily behind him.
It was as he had said, but the items ex-
plained it all.
"One Honiton cape, $18." Mr. Bleeker
had given it to her on her birthday.
" One cashmere scarf, $75."
The bill was folded, and restored to its en-
velope without a word.
" There's a dozen or more yet to come, I
suppose," said Mr. Bleeker, presently.
" There's Mr. Cook the grocer, and Brook's
shoe bill, and St. Leger."
" That's my business," growled Mr. Bleeker.
" Who else ? "
OUT OF DANGER. 37
" I can't tell, exactly, but there are always
more or less dropping in, that one has forgotten,
besides the regular house bills."
" Oh, that you may be sure of, and larger
than you expect, always." Mr. Bleeker snatched
up the poker, and dealt a vigorous blow to a
great black lump of Liverpool coal, which ap-
peared as if aimed at some of his annoying
" That is true," Mrs. Bleeker said in a firm,
quiet tone, as if it was best to look on the worst
at once. " We should do without a great many
little things if we had to pay the money at once,
but it's so easy to get a thing charged."
" I don't care about being lectured to-night,
" Dear Richard ! "
" When were the girls paid ? ' said Mr.
Bleeker, after an ugly pause, while two misty
tears had sprung to the eyes bent over little
Kate's new dress, which were not allowed to fall
however, but had to content themselves with re-
turning to their hiding-place, sent by Mrs.
Bleeker's resolve to bear this expected trial, in
all patience and gentleness.
" We owe the cook, and Ann, for three
months ; I gave Eliza a month's wages, not
10- ROT), so she has but twelve* dollars to avt. :
t" / (*
38 OUT OF DEBT,
Three times eight. Twenty-four dollars
to the cook. Twenty-one to Ann, and twelve
did you say ? there's fifty-seven to start
with ! "
Yet only the night before, when Mr. Bleeker
had found his wife wearied out with her many
cares, he had proposed having a regular chamber-
maid and seamstress ; quite insisted upon it,
because he wanted to read to her, and she had
the children to put to sleep.
" 0, Richard ! ' said his wife, suddenly
rising, and laying her hand on his shoulder,
as she often did when he seemed hurt and
offended, " must, we always go on so ? '
" I don ; t know how to help it," he answered,
gloomily. " It gets worse and worse, every
year ; there are bills over from last July."
" If you could only make me a regular al-
lowance for the house and the children, I could
manage much more economically. I'm sure I
" That's all very well to talk about, Kate,
but where is the money to come from ? I can't
draw any more from business, no, I have to
use my credit, it's the same as capital. It's
no use, Kate. These people will get paid some-
how, I suppose ; and the business ! why, let
OUT OF DANGER. 39
alone these drops in the bucket, I have more to
pay down town, than most men could stagger
under. I can't give you the money, and that's
the end of it ; and I want you and the chil-
dren to dress decently ; wherever else you can
pinch, don't let it be in the table, I beg ! '
So that was the end of the matter for this
night, until other bills, or the sight of the old
ones again, should call out a fresh burst of ill-
It was a difficult task set for Mrs. Bleeker,
and one she had striven faithfully to accomplish
for many years. Things had been growing
worse so fast lately, that she had the desperate
hope, that they must end soon. Her whole
time was occupied in contriving how to make
these very bills as small as possible, while meet-
ing Mr. Bleeker's express charge to have their
wardrobes, and the table, abundantly supplied.
Yet such scenes as these, constantly repeated,
was her reward, and she knew, from many
little things said in these moods, that her hus-
band's business affairs must be much more in-
It was hard, after she had been taxing both
strength and ingenuity to save a little towards
quarter-day, to have Mr. Bleeker produce a
40 OUT OF DEBT.
cane, or bring home a picture that he fancied,
and which cost twice the amount. When he
had ready money, or ready credit, no man was
more liberal and generous than Mr. Bleeker ;
though that could not be called true generosity
which gave his wife more pain than pleasure.
It was not a solitary instance of selfishness,
called by this pleasant name.
Then there was Tom growing up a perfect
copy of his father and how could she avert
the effect of such an example, or tell her child
that his father was in fault ? And Josephine
already had many foolish and extravagant ideas.
Certainly Mrs. Bleeker's heart that night
was " weary and heavy laden," but she had
long ago learned where to bring her burdens,
that they might be lightened. But for this
knowledge, and its daily, hourly application, she
could not have had the quiet cheerfulness which
every mother, and mistress of a household, must
Tom began one of his endless stories about
" us bovs' ; when he came in to tea, and found
his father not at all disposed to listen and laugh
at his school-boy jokes and adventures. Jose-
phine, whose afternoon had been profitably
spent in promenading Broadway, and admiring
OUT OF DANGER. 41
shop windows, looked forward rather dolefully
to a return of village dulness and school re-
" Aunt Lucy says she can't see why you
send us to such an out-of-the-way country school.
I met her, this afternoon, and she wanted to
know when we were going back again. I don't
see either, mamma. It isn't the least bit fashion-
" I know that perfectly well, Josephine. I
suppose your aunt would wonder still more if
she knew that was one of the very reasons the
school was selected/'
" And taking care of our own rooms ! She
says she never heard any thing like it."
" Aunt Lucy's memory doesn't go back very
far," said Mrs. Bleeker, playfully.
" How ? mamma ! '
" Once upon a time, two little girls lived
with their grandmother and uncle, who not only
took care of their own rooms, but swept and
dusted the rest of the house by turns, and knew
very well how to dry cups and saucers."
" But that was in old times, you know.
People don't do such things now."
" What kind of people ? "
" Stuck up ! I suppose," interrupted Tom,
42 OUT OF DEB T ,
more for the fun of teasing his sister than for
any democratic opinions of his own.
" Tom ! what an elegant expression ! ' said
his mother, reprovingly.
" Well, it spoils my hands so."
" Spoils them ! for what ? "
" Why, practising. You have no idea how
my right hand has spread ! '
" Poor thing ! ' said Tom, again. " Only
hear what a misfortune, papa."
Mr. Bleeker only knew that some kind of
a dispute was going on, and it annoyed him ;
so he recommended Tom to " take care of his
tea and toast, and let his sister alone."
" If w.e were poor people," continued Jose-
phine, in an under tone, to her mother, " there
might he some use in it ! hut then, of course,
" Why of course ? "
" Why ? because we live in a nice house,
and have three servants, and every thing hand-
some in it."
The little girl looked around the room with
a great deal of satisfaction, as if to prove that
what she said must he true. The gas was light-
ed, and blazed down cheerfully on the table,
j */ j
with its neat china, and Sheffield tea-set, the
OUT OF DANGER. 43
spotless linen cloth, the silver napkin rings of
her father arid mother. The back parlor was
used as a dining-room, Mr. Bleeker. disliking the
O / * O
dull front basement, and both rooms were fur-
nished in the ordinary style of the day, with
curtains, and mirrors, and lounges. Of course
there was a piano. Every house has its piano
as much as its tea-table nowadays.
" Dear me ! I shall be so home-sick ! ;
sighed Miss Josephine presently. " Miss An-
thon's parlor, the best room in the seminary, has
nothing but an ingrain carpet, and old Venetian
blinds ; with chairs like ours in the nursery ;
open work seats, and they're always set so stiff
in rows, up against the wall. And then our
table ; it's as long as from the street to the
back piazza ; and teachers sprinkled all along to
keep us quiet. Why, only think ! for tea, we
have nothing in the world but a plate of bread,
and a plate of butter, and a plate of dried beef ;
then a plate of bread again, so and so, and so ;
strung along, like Peter's blocks, over the car-
" My ! we don't even get beef at our table,"
chimed in Tom. " One night, we had cheese !
You ought to have seen Charlie Spear ! He
asked to be introduced to it ! "
44 OUT OF DEBT,
" And a pitcher of water at each end, and a
tea trav in the middle for the old girls " continued
Joscj)hine ; " that's every individual thing ; and
then if we laugh a little, and begin to have a
good time, one of the teachers is sure to call out,
c Young ladies ! do you know where you are ? '
" It's something like State prison, school is,
isn't it ? ' said Olive, who had come down late,
and had been silently swallowing these details,
with her biscuit and quince marmalade. " I'm
glad I don't have to go."
" You ought to be, " returned her sister with
a martyr-like air, forgetting how a little while ago
she had been wild to be sent to boarding-school,
and how incessantly she had teased until her
wish was gratified. Josephine's memory was,
like her aunt Lucy's, very good at forgetting.
Meantime Mr. Bleeker had taken up his hat,
and let himself out of the front door without a
word. This moody silence and departure was by
no means a new thing to his wife, but even Tom
and Josephine noticed it, and looked at each
Mrs. Bleeker was glad her husband was ab-
sent, at Tom's next observation.
" I say, mother ! am I going to have an
allowance this term ? all the boys have. It
looks so mean not to have one ! '
OUT OF DANGER. 45
" Yes, every body is expected to have pocket
money now. Don't they, Tom ? ' added Jo-
" I have tried to think of every thing you need,
both of you. You won't have much occasion
" Oh, I don't mean to spend mine ! ' said
Joe. " I intend to save it."
" I don't," said Tom, flatly. " What's the
use of money if you can't spend it ? I don't
see. There's always something going on. Girls
don't need money any way ! '
" How many i don'ts', " said Josephine, crit-
ically, in payment for Tom's thrust at girlish in-
feriority. " How much come now, mother,
how much a week ? ' pursued Tom.
" i Mother ' again ! " interrupted Joe. " Why
don't you say mamma ? Clementina says, no-
body says mother now ! ''
" You had just as many ' says ' as he had
' don'ts,' ; ' said Olive collectedly. " Mamma gives
me a penny a week."
"And that is more than mamma had at
your age. Pocket money was not thought ne-
cessary in the clays that your aunt Lucy knew
how to sweep. If we had a new ribbon on our
bonnets every winter, and had them bleached in
46 OUT OF DEBT,
the spring, we were very grand. But I suppose
Lucy has forgotten that too/' she added with
a little smile.
" Was our great- grandmother so very poor ? '
inquired Oily, who of all things liked to hear
what her mother had done and said when she
was a little girl.
" No, not poor; only careful. She did not
think it necessary for such little "tots" to have
winter bonnets, and summer bonnets, and spring
bonnets, too, for that matter. I remember she
undertook to bleach them herself once, some
open-work straws, that we were very proud of,
and they were both burnt, so we wore our blue
gingham sun-bonnets to church all summer ! '
" Oh, dreadful ! how did you feel ! ' said
Josephine, pitying her mother's '' hapless child-
hood " from the bottom of her heart.
" I believe your aunt Lucy was very much
distressed, but I don't think I felt at all. I was
always certain that every body respected my
grandmother, and uncle Peter."
" But about my allowance/' said Tom, not
particularly interested in open-work straw bon-
nets. " Won't you speak to papa about it,
please ? He promised it to me last term, but I
suppose he forgot it, for I did not have a cent af-
ter that you ave me was g;one.'
OUT OF DANGER. 47
Mrs. Bleeker remembered it. Her husband
was very apt to make rash and liberal promises,
fully intending at the time to fulfil them ; but,
as he said, " he was always so hampered by some
The matter was of much more importance to
Tom than he was willing to acknowledge. An-
ticipating this large income, he had spent all his
cash in hand, and when pencils, and library
fines, and drawing paper came to be thought of,
Tom had incurred debts to divers of his class-
mates, for odd dimes and quarters, which he
was obliged to leave unsettled on his return for
Tom intended to write to his father for a re-
mittance first, and then he concluded to " talk
it out," and explain the whole matter when he
should get home. Day after day passed, but
poor Tom's courage melted away instead of in-
creasing, and the time did not come. That very
night, the last but one at home, he had
fully intended to confess his short-comings ;
but as we have seen, Mr. Bleeker' s mood did not
invite any such confidence. Happy would it
have been for all parties around that bright cen-
tre table, if Tom had owned his fault. Mrs.
Bleeker would have given him the amount twice
48 OUT OF DEBT,
over, if it had been necessary to clear him, for
she knew from what slight beoinnin^s in the
o ~ o
boy, come the mill-stones of debt, hung about
the neck of harassed, anxious men.
" 1 don't think I can promise any regular al-
lowance/' said Mrs. Bleeker, as the little party
broke up, " though I will see that you each have
something in your purses. And whatever else
you do/ 7 she added decidedly, " don't antici-
pate your means. Better go without, than to
get any thing charged. You never have any
good of your money then, when it does come."
" Yes, mamma ? ' ; said Tom meekly, taking
up his bed-room candle, and feeling very much
like a culprit as his mother wished him good
night ; for one fault leads to another so surely,
that a sense of cowardly concealment made Tom's
pillow very hard and uncomfortable that night.
OUT OF DANGER. 49
" Shrink not to aim the shafts of wit
At all that's mean and narrow!
But, oh, before you bend the bow,
Be sure it holds the arrow ! "
TOM was to escort himself and Josephine back
to Rockville, where the Seminary was situated.
They considered themselves very important mem-
bers of society, you may be sure, at this early in-
dependence, when Mr. Bleeker had procured the
checks, and the tickets, though he still stood on
the platform to bid them good-by.
" Take care of the checks, Torn," said his
father, handing them in through the window,
" and look out for your head, Joe, don't be
stretching it out of the window every five mi-
nutes ! r
Tom felt equal to receiving the Bank of
England keys in trust, just then, and Josephine
50 OUT OF DEBT,
was too much occupied with her fellow-passengers
to care for any dull wintry landscape. She won-
dered if the lady in the blue veil knew that she
was thirteen years old, and going to boarding-
school. Then she looked at all the travelling
dresses in the car, and decided in her own mind
as to who were ladies, and who were not, by the
style of them. No lady, said the Kockville code
of gentility, ought to travel without a stone-
colored travelling dress, gaiter boots, Highland
shawl, barege veil, and fancy travelling basket.
" Take care of yourselves," said Mr. Bleeker,
again, as the steam whistle sounded, "and Tom
I say mind those checks." With which
general directions, and parting admonition, they
settled themselves back comfortably on the seat,
to talk over matters.
" Pretty good time ! ' said master Tom,
patronizingly, as they were jerked out of the de-
pot. He was consulting his new silver watch for
the hundred and fortieth time that morning.
" I wish it had been a gold one, while the
governor was about it."
"Why, Tom!' ; exclaimed Josephine at
this filial disrespect, which she had never heard
her brother venture upon before.
" Oh, that's what all of us boys say now."
OUT OF DANGER. 51
" When you are sure father is out of hear-
ing," said Joe, brilliantly ; " you wouldn't dare to
do it any other way. That's more of Charlie
Spear, I suppose."
te Well, what if it is Charlie's a first-rate
fellow, let me tell you. I should like to room
with him, that's all. How about the allowance,
Joe ? "
Somehow speaking of Charlie Spear always
put Tom in mind of money matters. Josephine
looked very mysterious, and shook her head.
" What did mother give you ? come tell,"
" An account book," said Joe, " to put down
all my expenses in."
" So she did me ; are you going to ? I can't
" Well, 1 rather think I shall," answered
Joe, meditatively. " Mamma has always had
one, you know, ever since before she was married
to papa, and she says it's an excellent plan.
Yes, I think it must be nice to know exactly
what you spend, and I intend to be very eco-
" On five dollars ! ' said master Torn, in
what he considered a very ironical tone. " Come,
you might as well own up that's what I have,"
52 OUT OF DEBT,
" You won't get any more, any way, let me
tell you ; so you might as well make the best of
" How do you know ? '
Why, because mamma gave me a regular
talking to, when she was packing my trunk ; and
she said, that was every cent she could spare,
and I must make the best use of it, and that
she shouldn't have given it to us all at once,
only she thought we were old enough to be
trusted, and it was time we knew the use of
money. I have gloves to buy out of mine, and
a new pair of overshoes, that's all I know of now."
" Oh, well ; ' said Tom, trying to banish
the uneasiness that this final decision of his
mother's caused him, " when that's gone
there's more where it came from, I know."
" But there isn't" persisted Josephine, " at
any rate for us ! Mamma said distinctly that I
was not to write for any more, for she considered
this all-sufficient ; and she was obliged to be
very, very economical herself."
" Pooh ! ' said Tom again, " that isn't me I
Well, don't talk any more, child ! the cars make
noise enough," so he relapsed into an unamiable
silence, and left Josephine to her book, or her
OUT OF DANGER. 53
She opened her book first, a new one, in
which she had taken the precaution to leave
some leaves uncut, that she might have a pre-
text to use a pretty little ivory knife Olive -had
given her at parting. It was necessary to draw
off her glove in order to do this, at least she
found it so, and looked around to see if any
one was observing her. The lady in the blue
veil was looking at her, and as Josephine noticed
this, her attitude became still more studied,
and she raised her arm with what she considered
an extremely graceful movement, to display
her hand holding the paper cutter to the best
advantage. Then she read a few lines, and
glanced up again to see if she was still observed.
This time she had the satisfaction of discover-
ing that the lady not only noticed her, but had
also drawn the attention of her companion, a
very handsome man, with dark whiskers, and a
moustache. They were decidedly the most
stylish-looking people in the cars, and the fool-
ish girl's cheeks glowed again, at the thought
that they were admiring her.
Poor child ! if she had only known that
they were smiling at her silly affectation of
manner, and the evident vanity in displaying
her ungloved hand so publicly !
54 O U T O F D E B T ,
But she did not dream of it, and began to
wish that her gold pencil could he changed into
a ring to set it off to more advantage, and then
she raised her pencil which had heen con-
spicuously thrust into the belt of her travel-
ling dress and marked a passage in the book
before her, with another flourish, more ridicu-
lous than the last.
She did not particularly fancy that passage,
indeed she had not read it at all, and could
not fix her mind on the story, but went on
wondering why her mother never allowed her to
have presents of jewelry, of which she was par-
ticularly fond, making her promise never even
to borrow it of her school-mates, as girls often
do. Josephine's grand scheme of economy
was only to be able to purchase a gold clasp to
a bracelet of Clementina's hair, which she
could plait very nicety herself ; hair bracelets
being quite the rage at Kockville.
The morning passed rapidly in this profit-
able manner, with scarcely a glance at the
beautiful mountain scenery through which they
were whirled, grand, and full of variety as it
was, even in the depth of winter ; nor did Tom
condescend to show the slightest animation of
manner, until, on halting at a way station, he
OUT OF DANGER. 55
discovered a familiar face in the midst of a
group on the platform. There was a very
handsome carriage and pair, evidently belong-
ing to them, for the servant was lifting a large
travelling trunk from the box, under the direc-
tion of a tall gentleman. The ladies wore
handsome furs, and one of them was " fussing,"
as Tom called it, over a lad about his own age.
" Oh, my dear do make him put on an
extra overcoat ! ' she said, appealing to the
tall gentleman, who answered abruptly, " Non-
sense ! he won't need it in the cars/'
" And, my dear boy, do write the very
instant you get there ! I shan't have a quiet
moment until I have heard, and do be careful
about your flannels ! '
The tall boy in the gray overcoat and blue
neck tie, did not seern to fancy being made the
object of so much public maternal solicitude,
or being kissed twice over by each of his grown-
Josephine thought his face looked familiar,
and seeing Tom start forward and nod very
eagerly to attract his attention, asked who it
was. But he was saved the trouble of answer-
ing, by the final parting, which came the next
56 OUT OF DEBT,
"Now, do be careful, there's a dear boy.
Mr. Spear do charge Charles not to expose
himself, and not to study too hard ! '
" No fear of that ! " said Tom, as Master
Charlie stumbled into the car over somebody's
carpet bag, as ungraceful an entrance as he
could well make ; but Josephine, who had only
seen him at a distance before, began to admire
him instantly, having, in the first place, heard
very little else than his name and performances,
from Tom, all through vacation.
He was taller and older-looking than her
brother, one reason that Tom felt particularly
honored by his notice, and quoted him on all
occasions ; and now he was in an uncomfortable
worry until he could get a seat beside him,
leaving Josephine in a most unceremonious
But it was not long, for the station at which
they were to take a stage, was reached an hour
after. It was a stage-sleigh that awaited them,
the ground being covered with snow here, as in
New York, though the roads had by no means
the well-packed firmness of New England
Josephine had the extreme satisfaction of
being handed out by Charlie Spear, blue neck
OUT OF DANGER. 57
tie and all, but the mortification, shortly
after, of seeing him choose a seat by the driver,
instead of by herself and Tom, where they had
made room for him.
" I hope he isn't going to drive," said Jose-
phine, in terror, as the horses, exhilarated by
the keen air, pranced a little in starting.
" You needn't be the least afraid if he does
he knows every stage driver on the road. I
wish I did, I wouldn't be poked back inhere ! '
If f the going," as the driver called it,
had been a little bit better, the afternoon drive
would have been much pleasanter than the
smoke and closeness of the cars. There was
just enough snow to make the country
unpicturesque. The unpainted farm-houses
looked blacker than ever, with the moisture
dripping from the roofs, and banks of half-
melted snow by the garden fences, and before
the unused front doors. The barn-yards were
all in a slop, the cattle drooping and muddy,
even the geese, usually so spotless, " had on
yesterday's white pantaloons," and the hens
picked their way cautiously, as if afraid of
" Oh, dear ! ' sighed Josephine, "howl do
58 OUT OF DEBT,
pity people that live in the country ! Nothing
could ever tempt me to ! '
u Nor me either," said Tom, watching the
farmer's sons of one particular homestead, who,
in blue frocks, and pantaloons rolled up over
their heavy boots, were feeding the cattle.
Josephine did pity them from the bottom
of her heart. To be sure, Kockville Seminary
was in a country villiage, but then they had
teachers and boarders from the city, and it was
not so entirely out of the world ! Josephine
wondered how people could exist, really settled
down in the country for life, with no shops,
but a village store where every thing was sold ;
no concerts, or parties when they came to grow
up ; and, worse than all, dressing in such a.
plain, old-fashioned manner. It reminded her
of what their mother had told them.
" There's mamma, though," she said, pre-
sently, " she was brought up in the country !
and Aunt Lucy."
" Aunt Lucy hates it now though," answered
Tom decidedly, " bad enough ! '
" I really believe mamma doesn't ! she's al-
ways talking about uncle Peter."
" What an old codger he is, though ! ' said
OUT OF DANGER. 59
" Oh Tom ! Fm sure he was very good to
" But he's an old codger for all that/' per-
sisted Tom, who always did persist when he saw
his sister look shocked at any of his boyish im-
pertinence. " My ! what a shocking bad hat
that was ! and such coat skirts ! made in the
" I do hope he won't pay us another visit very
soon, I must say/' and Josephine laughed in
spite of her quick sense of what was proper re-
spect to so excellent a man. " I did feel so
ashamed, when Roxy Curtis asked me if he was
any relation of ours, that night at the Juvenile
Concert. Don't you remember he almost cried
when he heard all the children sing ' The
Watcher/ and pulled out that great yellow and
red silk handkerchief, and blew his nose so loud,
that every body looked round ? Well, / never
want to live in the country, and I never will !
That's settled ! "
"There's the Brick!" called out Charlie
Spear, just then turning half round on the
coach box. Josephine was thankful she had
not known he was driving before, or she should
have " been in an agony," as she afterwards told
Clementina. There was but a little way to go
now : for " the Brick " was the large boarding-
60 OUT OF DEBT,
house belonging to the boy's school, the Academy,
as it was called, and " The Seminary," to which
Josephine was destined, though in the same
town, and under the same government, was a
mile nearer, quite in the village.
Josephine began at once to collect veil, book
and packages generally ; for, notwithstanding her
lamentations, she was very fond of her teachers
and schoolmates, and her heart beat quick at
the thought of so soon seeing them all again.
She scarcely even noticed Charlie Spear's flour-
ishing bow from the box, as she saw her favorite
Miss Fanshaw, and their Principal, Miss An-
thon, standing at the door in the wintry twi-
light ; and the sitting-room windows gleaming
cheerily from lamp and fire.
" The stage is in ! ' " Joe has come/'
"' It's Miss Bleeker ! " " How dy'e do, Joe ? "
" Welcome back again ! " sounded variously from
the little group crowding into the hall ; for the
term did not fairly commence until the next
day, and there was less restraint than usual.
The trunk was set inside of the gate. Jo-
sephine was surrounded and carried in to the
fire triumphantly. The great-hall door shut
with a clang, and vacation was over to Jose-
phine at the fireside, and Tom speeding towards
" the Brick."
OUT OF DANGER. 61
"The gayety, the gloom, the tasks, aims, hopes, and disappointments
that go to make up a school-girl's life." JOURNAL OF A TEAK.
" DID you have a nice time, Clem ? ' inquired
Josephine, on her knees before her trunk the next
" Splendid ! ; said her room-mate, who was
setting the book shelves in order (C I have loads
to tell you went every where, and saw every
thing ! Have you seen my Dictionary lying
round ? Oh ! you didn't know our class was to
go into Latin Reader this term, did you ? '
" Latin again ! and Algebra too, I suppose, '
said Josephine wofully. " What in the world
is the good of girls learning Latin ? '
" Dear knows ! and as for Algebra, I never
could say the multiplication table yet, could
you ? See, I've got one pasted into the back, for
I don't stand by Miss Chamberlain now, she used
to prompt me."
c Capital ! why, where did you get it ? '
" I happened to see it on the cover of our
Milly's old writing-book, and begged it of her.
Many new dresses, Joe ? '
" Three ! ' answered Josephine in a very self-
" Well, I have five ; a checked silk, and two
mousseline-de-laines, a chintz, and a plain cash-
mere. They're made sweetly, with flowing
sleeves, and the silk has a basque."
" Mamma doesn't think I'm old enough to
wear silks, and a basque ; '' said Josephine.
" I wonder how long before she will consider me
a young lady ? '
" But I have a lovely scarlet sacque, trimmed
with black velvet ! Oh, here it is, and here are
my new dresses ! '
" That puts me in mind," said Clementina,
" Ann Brown is back again. Don't let's speak
to her this term. She's got a black silk dress,
such a flimsy thing I do believe it's made
out of her mother's, or somebody's, and dyed ! '
Josephine winced at this speech, for her
very best dress, a plain, pearl-colored cashmere,
was made from one her mother had worn two
Josephine and Clementina. p. 63.
OUT OF DANGER. 63
winters. It was as fresh as possible, it is true,
and prettily made quite as good as a new one,
and even Clementina's prying eyes had not dis-
covered its previous existence, as she held it up
and shook it out. But Josephine imagined
she did, and felt uncomfortable accordingly.
" She must want to go to school more than
I do ! ' pursued Clementina. " How do you
like the new girls ? ;
"I think Agnes Hadly is a great deal
prettier than her sister. Is she going to be in
our class ? and Miss Hill dresses her hair beau-
tifully. Oh ! Clementina, I learned an ele-
gant new way I'll show you by and by but
those Miss Danas? they look very common."
" So they are/' said Clem, " nothing in
the .world but farmers'* daughters going to
stay but two terms."
" Oh/' said Josephine, diving down to the
bottom of her trunk again, and wondering if
Clementina had ever heard that her mother had
been brought up on a farm. Her foolish pride
made her sensitive and suspicious even towards
those she called her friends.
" Doesn't this little bit of a room look
funny, coming from home ? ' she added, to
change the subject as entirely as possible,
64 OUT OF DEBT,
" though we used to think it quite large when
Marianne Fanshaw had it."
" I guess you'd think so if you could see
my room at home ! I have a Brussels carpet,
rose-buds on a dark green ground, fancy cottage
chairs, rosewood backs, and an elegant French
bedstead. I do wish you could see it ! There,
you haven't told me why your mother did not
let you come New- Year's. We had every thing
our own way. I did so wish for you, dear ! '
" Thank you, darling ! ' for, as we have
said, these two young ladies were "devoted"
friends, and had written to each other every
three days through vacation, although Mrs.
Bleeker had not thought it best to accept Mrs.
Jones's New-Year's invitation, as she had never
met her, and knew nothing of the family gov-
ernment and influences. She did not think it
would be a healthy atmosphere for her daugh-
ter, whose natural vanity, and love of dress,
seemed to have developed rapidly, since her
intimacy with Miss Jones.
" And those sweet verses," said Clementina,
" I showed them to several, and they all said
it sounded like Miss Landon. You must cer-
tainly copy them in my album ! Cousin Bob
said you know my cousin Bob is an author,
OUT OF DANGER. 65
that is, he has written a lovely book of travels,
and thinks of having them published some day.
Bob says they ought to be sent to the Lady's
Book ; he hasn't the least doubt but Mr. Godey
would be delighted to print them, and pay you
ever so much."
Josephine's face glowed again ! She was
very proud of her talent for rhyming, but to
think of having her verses praised by grown up
people and printed ! that was beyond the high-
est flight of even her vivid imagination. She
was so absorbed in the blissful contemplation,
that she had not noticed a gentle tap on the
door, and now it opened softly, and a fair, gen-
tle face, with blue eyes, and bands of golden hair
shading a low but clear forehead, looked in.
' Busy unpacking, are you, girls ? Don't let
me disturb you. I only came for a peep at my
old quarters, and to see if Joe is rested. How
do you like it here, Clementina ? who is going
to have my window ? '
c Oh ! Josephine, I'm quite willing, she likes
trees, even when there's no leaves on, and hills,
and sky. I'd rather have this one for I can
see the girls go by from the classes, and all that's
" Come in, dear Marianne, please do ! "
66 O U T O F D E B T ,
urged Miss Fanshaw's ardent admirer, Josephine.
" Sit right there now, and eat some of these bon-
bons. I saved them from New- Year's for Clem,
but there's plenty more ; Clem has some too,-
haven't you ? and I've a hundred things to
tell you, and talk over."
Miss Fanshaw, who had not been home in
vacation, suffered herself to Jbe installed in the
only real chair in the room, at her old window.
It looked out upon the open country, for the
Seminary was at the end of the village, arid only
the garden divided it from a little common,
bordered by pine woods, which were bending
and sighing now, in the shrill wind that swept
down from the hills. The room was situated at
the end of a wing, commonly known among the
girls as " Poverty Lane," though it was strange
how many chose to abide there. The window
that Clementina had chosen, opened on a piazza,
from which stairs descended to the play-ground,
at the back of the recitation rooms.
It was Miss Fanshaw's last term, and she
was to room in the main building with Miss
Bailey, the Latin teacher. Both teachers and
scholars loved Marianne Fanshaw ; it was not
only for her beauty, or her sweet voice, or the
gentle grace and dignity of her manner ; there
OUT OF DANGER. 67
was something beyond all this, or rather which
tempered personal and mental graces into har-
mony. All the younger girls, even the junior
class, looked up to Miss Fanshaw, and thought
it a great pleasure and honor to he ahle to do
any thing for her. Among them all, Josephine
was acknowledged to be her favorite ; nor was it
a great wonder, for she was pretty, and lady-
like, and clever with her books and pen.
Josephine, on her part, was Miss Fanshaw's
champion all through the school, ready to main-
tain that she sang and played, and wrote com-
positions " better than any one in the world."
A wholesale assertion, which others were inclined
" I have had a great many happy hours
here/' said Miss Fanshaw, looking around the
room lovingly, as if every piece of furniture was
endeared to her from old association. " I don't
think any other room will ever be quite the
same. I believe I know every darn in the car-
pet, and every crack in the wall. You will have
to be very careful of that table between the doors,
though ! It has played me more than one
"Oh, is that the one that tipped over, and
inked your examination composition ? ' asked
68 OUT OF DEBT,
Josephine. " We were just saying how shabby
the furniture looked ; and this old carpet, only
look at that great patch ! '
" That patch ! that's a delightful patch,
girls ! I put it in myself, and worked a whole
Wednesday afternoon on it ! And as for the
table, Minnie and I mended it after that unfor-
tunate turn over, with a hammer, and some
nails, borrowed of Jim. It does need a new
" Yes, indeed," said Clementina, " I noticed
that last term, and begged one of mamma see,
it's scarlet and black embossed, and won't fade
like that old cotton thing."
" Then if I was you it does make a decided
improvement," said Marianne, pausing to notice
the effect, as Clementina smoothed it carefully
over the square painted table, " if I was you,
I should give the ' old cotton thing' to Ann
Brown ; I dare say she would be glad of it. Her
table has no cover at all.''
The little girls exchanged glances.
" We don't mean to speak to her at all this
term," Clementina took upon herself to answer.
" You may give it to her, though, if you like ! I
dare say it's as good as she has at home."
The smile passed away from Miss Marianne's
OUT OF DANGER. 69
te What has she done tooffend you? ;
" Nothing ! only I don't choose to associate
with servant girls ! ' said Clementina, still more
pertly, conscious that Miss Fanshaw was offended.
" Miss Brown is too far beyond you in years,
as well as her studies/' said Marianne gravely,
"to be hurt by such an unkind remark from a
little girl ; but it is not the less unladylike,
Clementina. She does no more than I should
do, or than it would be noble for either of you to
do in the same position/'
" Oh well, we never shall have to, any of us,
so it makes no difference. Our fathers are all
rich people ! '
" They may not always stay so ! and even if
they did, so much more reason that their
daughters should grow up ladylike, well-bred
" I wish we could learn some rule, just as
we do in Latin grammar, and then stay lady-
like always," said Josephine, who had not
" Nothing easier, dear you have learned
it long ago, I dare say, if you only make your
doings and sayings agree. A golden rule,
there's a special rule in the same book about
people who are too poor to wear ( gay clothing/ j
70 OUT OF DEBT,
Both of the girls looked abashed for a
moment, Josephine particularly, for she had
been taught more reverence for Miss Fanshaw's
" Book of Kules," though she had not yet
learned to walk by it, as we have seen ; and
they were glad to hear the bell of the moni-
tress at that moment come swinging through
the piazza, and down the stairs, calling them
all to the great recitation room. The monitress
and her bell were among the hardships of school
life, most frequently complained of by the girls.
The bell never seemed to hold its peace. It
roused them from that last pleasant morning
nap, it summoned the indolent to the recita-
tion hall at prayer time, leaving a disordered
room to be marked by the monitress on her
daily round. It interrupted playhours by the
call to study, and sent them to bed before they
were half ready to go, though half-past nine
was quite late enough for any of them. And
at ten the spiteful bell rang again, for the- last
time, it is true, and then came an opening and
shutting of doors, to see if all the lights were
out, for that was a curfew.
How many, half-undressed, groped and
shivered their way into bed after it had ceased !
how many belated and rebellious subjects were
OUT OF DANGER. 71
clotted on the blank of the monitress, to be
reprimanded before the whole school on Satur-
day morning, when the report was read ! Tasks
unfinished, buttons and hooks unfastened, chap-
ters unread, were laid aside at that provoking,
monotonous ring, never to be properly attended
to, and finally to swell the great list of neg-
lected duties that impeded the school-girl's
progress, and brought her into disgrace, when
examination day finally arrived. So much for
a delaying the work in its season," for what
are school-days, but a preparation for the dis-
cipline of life, where the tasks are harder, our
strength and ambition less, and the final award,
without appeal !
Miss Anthon said something like this,
as she welcomed them back again to school
duties, and gave each girl her place and studies
for the term. There was, in all, over sixty
scholars, some few of them from Eockville, and
not boarding at the Seminary ; of all ages,
from the little girls in the Junior class, to the
young ladies in the Fourth Year, just finishing
their school days. Most of them were dressed
very plainly, in accordance with Miss Anthon's
known wish, for, as it was a country school,
many of the pupils could not afford, or pro-
72 OUT OF DEBT,
cure, if their means had allowed of it, the
little fineries that girls brought up in cities are
accustomed to think indispensable. Even
Marianne Fanshaw, seated at the head of her
class, wore only a chintz morning dress, and
plain linen collar. Clementina looked quite
out of place, with a pale pink mousseline de
laine, and Valenciennes edging around the neck
She wore a bracelet, too, and rings innu-
merable, some of them by no means elegant ;
a red agate and a brown agate on the same
hand ; but then agate rings made so much show !
Long blue satin ribbons tied her hair, and hung
o / o
streaming over her shoulders, for Clementina
was by no means choice in the agreement of
colors ; and did not know that plain, brown
taffeta, the color of her hair, would be in much
better taste, as well as more serviceable. Hair
ribbons were another of Josephine's trials, her
choice being confined to a black and a brown
Miss Anthon read all the rules of the
school, so that there might be no excuse for
the new comers in disobeying them. They
were not very numerous, or very harsh, but the
most implicit obedience was required, and their
OUT OF DAN G E R . 73
teacher placed duty above any prize or reward
that could be offered to them, and said their
own sense of what was right and wrong in
other words, their conscience, must be a more
rigid monitor than any she could appoint.
Some of the girls looked eager and inter-
ested, others scarcely listened, and fidgeted
about in their seats. It was easy for their
teacher to see where was the "good ground/'
and where she was to look for thorns and briers,
instead of fruit, in return for her careful cul-
There was a general buzz after dismissal,
for there were to be no recitations that day,
each one exclaiming over her lessons, or her
place, very few entirely satisfied with Miss
" I should have thought I might have gone
into Virgil/' one said, who might have done so
if she had not neglected Caesar, the last term.
" I heard Miss Anthon give you Pa ley/'
said Ellen Hadley to Clementina. " It's as easy
as knitting work/'
" I don't think so it looks as stupid and
hard as possible, but there's no words to look
out, that's one comfort ! I hate Latin !
French is some use, everybody speaks French,
74 OUT OF DEBT,
and I suppose I shall travel when I get through
school, and I must have Italian on account of
my music. Nobody sings English any more,
mamma says ! '
" What a little bunch of affectation ! '
said Ellen Hadley, turning away. She was one
of the " great girls/' who sometimes patronized
the little ones, and sometimes locked the door
upon them as " plagues ! '
" Yes, she's worse than ever, this term.
By the way, Ellen, I do believe Ann has been
studying all vacation. Miss Anthon has put
her in our year ! '
" You don't sav so ! well she's to be a teacher
you know, poor thing."
" We don't call Miss Anthon, ' poor thing/
some voice near them said,
" Oh ! are you there, Marianne ? Only think.
Ann is to be in the fourth year. I was waiting
for my list, when I heard Miss Anthon tell her
" Then we shall have to look out for the
valedictory, that's all/' answered Miss Fanshaw
" But no one was ever helped through so fast
before. It shows great partiality, / think,"
pouted Ellen Hadley, who barely maintained her
OUT O F D A X G E R . 75
" It shows that no one ever studied so hard
before ! ' said Marianne.
" Oh ! well, I suppose she has to thank
goodness I don't, that's all ; I can stay five years
at school if I like/'
" What a privilege ! ' laughed Maria Allen,
another of the Fourth- Year girls. " For my
part, the sooner 1 get away the better, don't you
say so, Marianne ? ;
" I do," said Clementina, elbowing her way
very unceremoniously through the taller group.
*" Only think, Ann Brown's in your year. She
began with us ! '
" She didn't like you well enough to stay, I
suppose," said Maria Allen.
" Nobody wanted her," retorted the forward
child, though Ellen and Maria both had them-
selves to blame for encouraging Clementina in
her pertness. They laughed at her speeches,
arid called her " a queer, clever little thing," to
her face, and said she was " impertinent," and
" self-conceited," to other people.
" Miss Jones Clementina," called Miss An-
thon from her desk, so loud that all the girls
standing near stopped to listen, " you have
* Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe/
in your box of books, I believe. I should like
76 OUT OF DEBT,
you to lend it to Miss Brown this term. It is
an expensive book, I know, and I will be an-
swerable for its careful usage."
" Yes," said Ellen, delighted at Clementina's
look of annoyance. " That great heavy book of
your aunt Jane's."
There was no help for it, as Miss Anthon
had made the request, and Clementina would
not use it for two years to come. It had been
packed by mistake, in the first place. The
Fourth- Year girls looked delighted, all but Mari-
anne, who whispered as she passed near her,
" Send the table cover at the same time, there's
a good girl, you will save Ann two or three dol-
lars by lending it to her ! '
Still Clementina grumbled to Josephine as
they reached their own room, that " it was too
bad to have to oblige that Ann Brown twice in
one day/' and Josephine was so foolish as to
think so too, though all they could find to dislike
in her was, that she was plain, and poor, and
swept the halls and school rooms in return for
her tuition, rather than accept the provision
made by the trustees for those who were unable
to educate themselves.
OUT OF DANGER. 77
" I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it? "
TOM, in his room at " the Brick," was also un-
packing, though it was a very different affair
from the orderly arrangement of shelves and
drawers made by his sister and Clementina.
His trunk stood in the middle of the floor,
wide open ; and when he wanted any thing
" he dove for it," as he informed Charlie Spear,
who was lounging on the bed with his feet upon
one of the posts.
It was a single bed, for Tom roomed alone,
an arrangement he did not much like, though
if he could not have Charlie, he did not care
about any one. Charlie's " Chum," as he al-
ways called him, was " a slow, stupid muff ! '
that is, he always had good recitations, never
robbed hen roosts, or melon patches, or pasted
78 O U T O F D E B T ,
caricatures of his teachers on the chapel walls ;
gentlemanly accomplishments to which master
Spear was much addicted. According to his
own story, he had been the hero of a thousand
and one marvellous adventures and escapes.
Certain it is, that Rockville Academy was the
fifth school he had been sent to since he began
to prepare for college, and he was about as ready
to enter now, as when his name was registered
at the first one,
The result of Tom's various dives was dis-
played about the room ; a jacket, with a pile of
underclothes and a pair of boots on top, in one
chair ; a lexicon, a cricket bat, half a large
sponge cake, and a half-dozen clean linen collars
on another. The table was heaped with an
equally miscellaneous collection, and several gar-
ments dangled by the leg or arm, over the yawn-
" How about the allowance, Tom ? " said his
friend again, lazily folding his arms under his
head and raising his feet still higher.
" All right," said Tom, knowingly.
" Handsome come down ! eh ? ' inquired
" A V. ! that's all ! " and the gold piece was
displayed against one eye, then dropped into
Tom's vest pocket again.
O 1) T O F D A N U E K . 79
' Oh ! ho, well, that's something like, now,
isn't it ? a V. a month ! how did you manage,
Tom ? "
" Easy enough ! ' for Tom did not choose to
correct the mistake, by acknowledging that the
half eagle was the sum of all his receipts from
home, for the entire term. He was not at all
averse to borrowed plumes, and did not stop to
mark the implied falsehood, knowing the conse-
quence it would obtain for him among his school
fellows. He could see that he had risen in
Charlie Spear's estimation already.
" Suppose we settle that little account ! '
he said, with some importance, as he fished up
the grammar he had been in search of.
" Oh ! no hurry, my dear fellow ! not the
least ! ' returned his principal creditor, reaching
out a hooked stick, and fishing in his turn for a
small blank book which had tumbled out with
the grammar, and had excited his curiosity.
" I say, Tom, what's all this ? '
" I don't know," said Tom carelessly, and
it was true that he did not, for Mrs. Bleeker
had put it in without saying any thing to him in
packing. It was an expense book, exactly like
the one she had given to Josephine, ruled and
dated. There was something written in it be-
sides his name, on the fly leaf.
80 OUT OF DEBT,
" Out of debt, out of danger ! ' shouted
Master Spear. "Well, that's a nice joke. I
must tell Ferris, and Frank Flanders ! Let's
begin, Tommy Goodboy ; ' and taking out his
pencil, he began making entries, repeating them
aloud as he did so.
" To one slate pencil two farthings ; four
farthings make one penny, and they're two for
a cent, you know ! '
"Two leather shoe-strings one cent ; now
for a bust I '
"One quart of peanuts six and a quarter."
" Here hollo give us that ! ' said Tom,
catching at the book, with a very red face. Of
all things in the world, he could not bear ridi-
cule. He had been laughed into many a plan
he could not have been teazed or coaxed to join.
" I ought to have put down i an apron ' in-
stead of ' a shoe-string ! ' continued Charlie
" I say, will you give us that book ? ' shout-
ed Tom, getting more angry and flushed every
" Come, corne, don't bother a fellow ! " said the
incorrigible boy, still holding the book at arm's
" What's all this ? " said a tutor, putting his
OUT OF DANGER. 81
head in at the door. " Less noise, young gentle-
men, if you please."
" Only lesson in book-keeping by double
entry/'' answered Charlie, impudently, as Tom
caught hold of the book, and tore off a cover,
in the vain attempt to secure it. " School doesn't
begin till to-morrow you know, Mr. Peters."
Mr. Peters, who never liked to contend with
Charlie Spear, shut the door, and went on his
way down the corridor. Tom succeeded in get-
ting the book at last, and threw it into the bot-
tom of the trunk, with his spring clothes, that he
did not need for some time to come ; so it was
shut up, and pushed against the wall out of the
" Oh, there's no use firing up ! ' called out
Charlie, as Tom turned away after this exploit,
still vexed and fretted ; " because this steam-
boat don't go ahead till the bell rings ; ' which
figurative language was meant to imply, that he
should not move until he was ready.
" Great dodge this," continued Master Char-
lie, " beginning term with a holiday ! What
are you going to do with yourself this after-
We have study hours to-night, I suppose
82 () U T O F D K B T ,
'But that isn't now, it's only two o'clock;
how are you ? '
" Ten minutes past," said Tom, mollified at
the opportunity to exhibit and consult his new
" Suppose we take a sleigh-ride ? ' proposed
" Where's the sleigh to come from ? that's
the next thing ! '
" That's easy enough to find. Bill will let
me have a cutter, and I'll drive. Suppose we
go over to Franklin ? J
" So far ! it's fourteen miles, isn't it ? '
" Why, by sand it is, but by snow it's not
half so far. That is, we can go in half the time
" We shouldn't get back by study hours, I
don't believe. What does Bill charge ? ' asked
" Never mind the expense ; money's no object
with a fellow who has five dollars a mouth, you
know ! Most fellows would be precious glad of
that a quarter. Frank Flanders now ! Suppose
we treat him ? '
" Well, come on," said Tom, magnificently,
for the half eagle was a greater sum than he
had ever had at one time before, and seemed in-
OUT OF DANGER. 83
exhaustible. So they made their way to Frank
Flanders' room, and opened the door just as he
shut his Virgil with a bang, and started up, de-
claring that he was ready for any thing. Frank
was considered one of the best-natured boys in
school ; his tasks cost hiin little labor, and he was
always ready to help any one else. Charlie
Spear was not slow to avail himself of it, and
in return invited him out on all occasions, for
Frank was not overburdened with pocket money.
In the- lower hall they encountered Professor
Phelps, the principal of the academy, walking
up and down with his hands behind him, as he
often did. " Exercising' he called it, though
the slow pace would not have quickened his
pulse a stroke an hour.
ff Going to take a walk ? ' ; said he, smiling
benevolently over his spectacles, as he paused in
his saunter for an instant, and made way for
them to pass. " Grlad to get back to school
again, I suppose, Charles/'
" Bill," as Charlie Spear familiarly called
the landlord of the Rockville Hotel, received the
young gentlemen with the most flattering dis-
tinction. It was plain that Charlie Spear cared
more for his good opinion than for Dr. Phelps'
commendation. He drew the man aside, and
84 OUT OF DEBT,
whispered to him, nodding towards Tom now and
then ; which Tom noticed, and assumed an air
of importance accordingly.
" Certainly sir certainly ! ' said he com-
ing forward, " which horse, Master Spear ? Old
Zack goes a little lame just now, and Bob's been
out already this morning. Drove two gentlemen
over to the Seminary, with their darters. There's
Joe though, the gray pony, and the blue cutter,
with plenty of buffaloes, I suppose. All right,
gentlemen ;" with which Mr. Kelly, who was
hostler as well as landlord, disappeared, and pre-
sently returned with the establishment in ques-
The boys sprang in, Charlie sitting between
the other two, and assuming the privileges as
well as the office of driver. Tom remonstrated
faintly when he found they were on the road to
Franklin ; but Frank, who had learned his les-
sons already, and did not care for discredit marks,
even if they were late, told Charlie to " push
The road was by no means good, a mixture
of sand and snow, with deep ruts now and then,
over which the runners grated with divers un-
comfortable bumps, and a harsh grating sound.
It was dark when they reached Franklin, then
OUT OF DANGER. 85
the horse must rest and be fed, so study hours
had fairly commenced before they set out on
their return, The warm days of the thaw were
over, a cold dismal wind swept across the empty
meadows, and down from the barren hill-sides,
benumbing them, wrapped as they were in the
" plenty of buffaloes/' which consisted of two
old robes, very well worn. Joe was by no means
a fast horse, not in any sense of the word, and
every mile seemed to lengthen before them.
They tried to be very merry at first, till Charlie
Spear had exhausted his stories, and then they
sung and shouted, as they went through the vil-
lages, to " astonish the natives/' which they did,
though not exactly after the fashion they in-
tended. They roared out, " The Battle of the
Nile/' with exemplary patience, considering
Frank Flanders knew nothing of time and tune,
and was continually putting the others out of
their reckoning. This was relieved bv the
equally entertaining melody of " A grasshopper
sitting on a switchery vine" Charlie Spear
solo, Tom and Frank chorus ; then " Uncle Ned/'
and " Rosa Lee/' were introduced variously, and
finally they attempted a round, " Three Blind
Mice/' which proved an entire failure, as they
were by this time extremely tired and cold.
86 OUT OF DEBT,
The last mile they scarcely spoke to each other,
and Tom especially, wished himself safe in bed
forty times. But the longest lane has a turning,
and the Rockville Hotel, was hailed as in sight
at last ; just as the curfew bell of the Seminary
Mr. Kelly was in waiting to receive old Joe,
and Tom was for settling up all charges forth-
with ; Charlie Spear interposed. He already
figured on the landlord's books, and was afraid
he would insist on an entire squaring up of
accounts. " I'll make it all right," he called
out to Mr. Kelly as he gave up the reins ; and
taking Tom's arm they were very soon out
of that individual's hearing.
They all declared they had had " a good
time," -" a jolly good time," -as they separated
in the hall of the Brick. But the expression of
Tom's face changed the instant he had entered
his room, and locked his door. He had no
chum as the others had to keep up the fire ; the
stove door standing open, was choked by a log
of wood, green at the large end, and charred at
the other ; one of those sticks that will neither
go out nor go in, but smoke and sputter away
their existence in the most ungenerous and sul-
len manner. So the room had neither warmth
OUT OF D A N G K R . 87
nor comfort, and the bed was half covered with
" unpackings," which were none the better for
being tossed off in a heap, on to the floor.
He had smoked a cigar, which was by no
means his first, but had made him almost as
sick as if it was, his feet were benumbed with
cold, his limbs were cramped by the uncom-
fortable position he was obliged to sit in while
holding the driver, and his throat and head
ached with shouting and singing in the wind.
When Tom came to think over this "jolly
good time," he had to confess to himself,
that he had worked very hard for amusement,
to very little purpose ; and then followed the
comfortable reflection, that his first day of school
was marked by disobedience to the rule of study
hours, unprepared lessons, debt and extrava-
gance. Then he fell to wondering what the bill
for old Joe would be, and tried to comfort him-
self as he dropped into an uneasy sleep, by re-
solving penitently that this should be the last
time, and he would pay every body off early in
the morning. But alas ! for Tom, this fore-
shadowing of the empty pleasures of a gay life,
had a pleasanter aspect with the morning sun
streaming in, and a cheerful fire crackling and
snapping in the stove. The good resolutions
88 OUT OF DEBT,
arising from the mental and bodily discomfort of
the moment, had not been fortified with any
strength but his own, and they melted from his
recollection like the frost work from the window
pane. The " Come, come, there's a good fel-
low ! ' or " Don't back out now ! ' of Charlie
Spear and his set, had far more influence.
OUT OF DANGER. 89
"Whereupon the crow opened her mouth down dropped the cheese,
and the Fox, seizing it quickly, made off with his booty.
THE little room at the end of Poverty Lane,
had a very cheerful look one Saturday afternoon,
several weeks later in the session.
For a wonder both its occupants had learned
Monday's lessons on Friday evening, which was
the proper time for them, though they were
generally crowded into the hour allowed for re-
view on Monday morning, fretting the neglect-
ful meanwhile, with an ever recurring sensation
of discomfort, no matter how pleasant the pur-
suit in which they were engaged. It was won-
derful how many contrived to spoil the week's
holiday after this fashion, or it would have been
wonderful if we all did not know from experience
how inclined we are to make disagreeable duties
90 OUT OF DEBT.
twice as formidable, by putting them off to the
verv last moment, instead of clearing them from
our path at once.
The room was very neat, and orderly, Satur-
day morning being the time allotted at the
Seminary, for the week's grand cleaning up,
mending, altering, re-arranging. The girls had
made a very marked improvement, marked by
them at least by turning the bed around, and
altering the book shelves. What girl has not,
in the course of her school life, " made twice
as much room " by changing the position of her
bedstead, though if measured by rule and line,
the gain would be wonderfully diminished. It
covered Marianne's " delightful patch," more-
over, and had two " front sides/' a great advan-
tage, when both room-mates decline the back
of the bed ! So the girls surveyed it with pe-
culiar satisfaction from every point of view, and
made it up between them in the best manner,
with a clean white counterpane, which as " No.
20 " had fallen to their lot that day.
The books were placed neatly on the shelves,
and piled up on the table under the mirror ; and
in the foreground were arrayed various little
treasures, with scrupulous care. An ornamented
china match safe ; a pine burr basket, Jose-
OUT OF DANGER. 91
phine's ivory paper cutter, and Clementina's
album. Their trunks, covered with chintz, served
as ottomans, and Josephine had under Mari-
anne's directions achieved a carpet foot stool,
whichwhen closely examined showed itself to have
been an empty raisin box, begged from Mrs. Platt
the housekeeper. On this, Josephine's feet were
elevated, and with her portfolio on her knee she
was scribbling away, now writing a line or two
in a flourishing manner, and then biting the top
of her pencil for inspiration, that refused to
Clementina, at her own window, a basket
of bright silks and a pattern before her, was em-
broidering on perforated card-board, two doves
with their beaks united supposed to be an em-
blem of the eternal and tender friendship existing
between them, and destined to be a book-mark
for Josephine's approaching birth day. Neither
had spoken for some moments, Clementina ab-
sorbed in the perpetual " one, two, three four"
of her different colored stiches, and Josephine
as industrially counting her finger, a species of
scanning very much indulged in by juvenile
" There, I might as well give it up first as
last" said she pettishly, tearing up the back
of an old composition on which she had been
"Give up what ? ; said Clementina respon-
sively, pricking her needle into the stitch last
counted "seven, eight, nine no, five, six, seven
blues, never mind, I shall have to count it over
again ! Give up what, cherie ? '
" Why, this stupid poem!' ambitious Jose-
phine ! she had always said verses before, but
now that she was promoted as editress of
the school newspaper, " The Azalia," she ven-
tured a " poem/' just to see how it would sound
when she came to be a magazine contributor.
" What bothers you, darling ? can't I help
you ? "
Josephine felt scornfully inclined at the idea
of Clementina, who sat whole afternoons puz-
zling over a prose composition " On Winter,"
or. " My Happy Home," helping her in this
extremity. However, she condescended to im-
part her troubles. " Why, I want a rhyme a
rhyme to l dwell/
" Oh, is that all. I'm sure 'dwell' is easy
enough ; there's ' bell' and l tell.'
" I've tried all those. They won't do at all.
Just listen ' bell, tell, quell, rebel/ I tried
OUT OF DANGER. 93
" Quell is a very nice word, I'm sure/' said
Clementina. " It always puts me in mind of
" Oh, I know/' answered Josephine, a little
impatiently. " Because G-essler tried to quell
him ; a word may be a very good word, and not
"Let's hear how it's to go then how should
Josephine took up her fair copy of " the
poem," she always wrote on scraps, and copied
it with pen and ink on a clean sheet. She im-
agined it was impossible to compose any other
" It's i Lines to My Brother at Sea,' you
" But you haven't any brother at sea, have
you ? ' inquired the literal Clementina.
" Oh, no ! of course not ; but it does not
make any difference, people that write poetry
always imagine things."
" Oh," said Clementina, relieved by the ex-
planation, " Go on."
" '1 would that it had been thy lot,' "
" Is that the first of it ? " interrupted Miss
94 OUT OF DEBT,
u The first of this verse."
" Oh, begin back at the beginning, let's hear
how it commences."
'' Very well," and Josephine, quite willing
to try the effect aloud, turned back the leaf, and
began afresh : " i Lines to My Brother at Sea,
by Effie/ I shall take Effie, I think, altogether,
Clementina. Now, mind you don't breathe it
to a living soul. How would ' Effie Effington '
sound ? '
" Sweet, the girls would never dream who
it was ; it doesn't sound in the least like Jose-
phine Bleeker. Go on."
"LINES TO MY BROTHER AT SEA,
"BY EFFIE EFFIXGTON.
" Full many a weary month has passed,
Since you from us did part,
Since you left your childhood's happy home,
With a light and gleeful heart.
Thy future then unclouded seemed,
Thy life unvexed by care,
And your laughing brow was shaded quite
By curls of nut brown hair."
"Oughtn't it to be 'you,' or <thou,' all the
time ? ' suggested the audience.
Josephine had thought so herself, but had
not skill enough in construction to know how to
OUT OF DANGER. 95
remedy it. However, she was not going to be
corrected by Clementina. What she wanted
of her hearers and Josephine was by no means
a solitary example in authorship was praise,
" Mercy, no, child ! It doesn't make the
least difference ; you put me out, asking ques-
Clementina bore the rebuke much more
meekly than could have been expected, but
she had a profound admiration for the art of
rhyming, proportioned to her own lack of original
" And is thy brow yet clear and white ?
Thy heart as light as when
We wandered by the streamlet's side,
Or rambled in the glen ?
Has Father Time passed gently o'er
Thy tall and manly form ?
Hast thou ne'er shrunk before the blast ?
Or bowed before the storm ? '
" Do you think there's too many questions ? '
asked Josephine, pausing at the end of the
' No, I don't know as there is," said Clem-
entina, warned by past experience, that dissent
was not expected. " Don't you know that piece
96 OUT OF DEBT,
of Mrs. Sigourney's in ' The Young Lady's Class
" ' Whose is yon sable bier ?
"Why moves that throng so slow?
Why does the lonely mother's tear
In sudden anguish flow ?
Why is the sleeper laid
To rest in manhood's pride ?
How gained his cheek that pallid shade ? '
don't you know ? We used to speak pieces at
our last school, and I spoke that once."
" Why, mine is very much in the same style,
isn't it," said the school poetress, delighted with
Clementina's fortunate instance. '* Here's the
third verse, where i dwell ' comes in,
" ' I would that it had been thy lot
Dear brother, here to dwell,
Beneath our parent's roof tree,'
and there comes that provoking rhyme, or,
rather, I can't get one."
" How would i spell ' do," said Clementina,
taking up her work again.
" Spell ! let me see," and Josephine gathered
her scattered fragments together again.
" Beneath our father's roof tree,
Bound by some potent spell."
" Why, yes, that's the very thing, only I
OUT OF DANGER. 97
want it to go on, because I have the last two
lines clone, and it must fit in.
" The darlings of our household,
Their glory and their pride."
" That is, you and your brother/' said Clem-
entina. " When have you. seen Tom ? '
" Don't speak just this moment, there's a
dear child," answered Josephine, without look-
ing up, and scribbling, as if life depended on
her catching the idea she was in quest of.
Clementina accustomed to be thus silenced
considered for a moment whether she should join
the girls on the play ground, or stay where she
was, and finish her dove's wings. Finally she sat
still, looking idly out of the window, at Maria
Allen and Ellen Hadly, playing graces on the
piazza of the opposite wing, their movements
being considerably impeded by the hoods and
shawls in which they were wrapped.
Presently, Josephine threw down her pencil
and sprang up, her task accomplished, and her
face glowing with the excitement of composition.
" Want to hear the rest, Clem ? "
Clem nodded, and turned away from the
window. " You wrote that last verse in a hurry,
98 OUT OF DEBT,
" Didn't I ! It was just as easy as possible.
The last line is a quotation, but then it's exactly
what I wanted, and I let it be. I altered that
third line again see."
" I would that it had been thy lot,
Dear brother here to dwell,
Beneath our parent's roof tree
And breaking not the spell
That bound us to our happy home
Where we grew side by side,
The darlings of our household,
Their glory and their pride.
" Alas ! I fear that even now,
Thou'rt slumbering with the dead,
Where the sea around thee surges,
And heaps billows on thy head.
Where thou hast for thy requiem
The howling of the blast!
As it sweeps by some devoted ship
' And bends the gallant mast? '
Clementina was quite as much delighted at
the " requiem/' and " howling of the blast/' as
Josephine could have desired. On the whole,
they came to the conclusion, that it was " the
best thing Josephine had ever written/' even
surpassing the " Stanzas to Clementina, written
in vacation," which now flourished in the purple
OUT OF DANGER. 99
morocco Album on the table. There is no
knowing how this delightful excitement would
have been calmed down, if " Miss Bleeker," had
not been summoned to the parlor by the Mom-
tress to receive " a gentleman."
Saturday afternoon was the only time the
pupils of Kockville Seminary were allowed to
receive visits, and then one of the teachers was
always in the room. Miss Baily sat on the sofa
as Josephine came in, trying to play the agree-
able to master Tom Bleeker, who did not seem
to respond very amiably.
There was always something very pleasant to
the Seminary girls in these Saturday visits.
First, the being called for, was a distinction, and
a flutter of itself. Happy were they who had
brothers or cousins at the Academy, and then it
not unfrequently happened that other brothers
and cousins dropped in making the levee quiet
an animated affair.
Tom Bleeker was very much admired by
those who had met him in this way, and Jose-
phine's pride, as well as her sisterly affection
made his occasional visits a matter of great con-
He did not seem much more amiably disposed
towards her, than he had been towards Miss Baily,
100 O U T O F D K B T ,
now retreated to a front window. He was irrita-
ble, and restless, and did not care to talk on the
topics Josephine introduced. Letters from home
generally formed the theme of the afternoon, and
Josephine wondered .that she had not heard for
over two weeks.
" Does she always sit there ;: -inquired the
young gentleman at length nodding towards
" Oh, you need not mind her" said Josephine.
" She never listens ; -in the anticipation of some
famous practical joke, which Tom did not care
should get back to head quarters again.
But Tom was not satisfied, and the conver-
sation drooped again, until Miss Baily, suddenly
recollecting that her window had been up long
enough, and that as only the brother and sister
were there she might safely leave them alone,
without a breach of discipline, quitted the room
to attend to it.
Tom left alone, did not get on a bit the bet-
ter at first, but as time passed the emergency
became more desperate, and breaking off some
boyish narrative suddenly, he inquired if all that
five dollars was spent.
" No/' said the unsuspicious Josephine com-
placently. " I ought to have had my overshoes
OUT OF DANGER. 101
before now, I suppose, but the fact is, I hated
to change it. When money is changed it goes
so fast, you know/ 7
"Just like a girl/' thought Tom, who did
know it, to his cost ; however, so much the bet-
ter for the plan he had in view. He tried to
assume as careless a manner as possible, but his
voice would have betrayed his anxiety to any
one more skilled in disguises than his sister.
" Oh, I dare say you can get on a bit longer
without it, then. Suppose you lend it to me for
a day or so. The fact is, Joe "
" Why, Tom/' interrupted his sister.
" Surely, yours is not all gone."
"Every cent/' said Tom, thinking that he
would take a different course from that he had
first proposed to himself, and. make the case as
bad as possible, though holding out a prospect
of speedy repayment. " Dead broke upon my
honor, Joe, but I've written home for more. That
is, I shall write to-night, and Frank Flanders
owes me a part of it any way, so you need not
be afraid. I wouldn't ask it of you " he ran
on eagerly, as he watched Josephine's varying
face, " but our society, the Fraters you know,
are going to have the hall fixed up, and we are
all expected to subscribe. I must, you see, it
102 OUT OF DEBT,
looks so mean not to, and if there's any thing I
do hate, it's meanness ! '
He was giving a beautiful example of it
now, that was certain.
Josephine did not stop to think of that.
She was startled at Tom's confession, that his
money was all gone, and wondered how he had
contrived to spend it all so soon ; in seven weeks,
for she referred back to the number of composi-
tions she had filed away that morning. And
then, poor fellow, it was hard for him to be with-
out a cent, or to be called mean, when it was
owing to him too. Probably Frank Flanders
had borrowed more than Tom liked to mention.
However, the shoes and gloves she must have,
and the bracelet clasp was a long cherished
and very dear plan ; it was certainly a hard posi-
tion to be placed in.
"You see, Joe," said Tom, reading some-
thing of this as she sat quite still for a minute,
" girls can be saving. They haven't the temp-
tation to spend money that we fellows have ; it
goes, nobody knows how, a shilling here, and a
shilling there. One can't refuse to treat- to a
ride or so, where it's expected.
Poor Tom, caught in the snare of Public
Opinion thus early.
O U T OF DA N G E 11 . 103
u And then, every body likes a good generous
fellow, that isn't afraid of his money."
" But they ought to like you" said Josephine,
" not your money. Don't you think you ought
to be more careful, Tom ? You know what
" Oh, mother's always lecturing, I know ;
don't you begin," retorted Tom, in a surly tone.
" I don't want to lecture, brother. I'm not
old enough, and don't know enough," faltered
Josephine, " but it only seems to me, as if it
wasn't right to get into debt, and spend money
when you can't afford it, just for what people
will think, and to please them."
A powerless argument, poor child, that had
been used in vain to check the threatening tide
of extravagance, by many a sister and wife !
" Keep your money yourself, then, if you
want to be mean," said Tom, trying the resent-
ful ; "I don't want it ! plenty of other people
that are not so stingy ! '
" But, brother," sobbed Josephine, fairly
crying at such a burst of unkindness, when al-
ready over excited.
" You needn't distress yourself," said Tom,
shaking off her hand and striding towards the
window. " You will have the satisfaction of
! 04 U T O F D E B T ,
knowing I'm cut by all the fellows, Charlie
Spear and all. I wonder what he'd think of
you now, praising you up, as he's always done
since that day in the cars."
Josephine arrested in her tears, could not
help wondering what Charlie Spear had said ,
and Tom was not slow to follow up the advan-
" If you were only a little more accommo-
dating, I should agree with him. I say, Joe,
you don't need them gloves just yet, you said
you didn't ; Charlie Spear says, your hand is
the smallest hand he ever saw ; his sister's are
nothing to it. Couldn't you give us part, you
know, two and a half say ? '
Josephine had translated from the French,
the fable of " the Kaven, the Fox, and the
Cheese," a few days before, but she did not
think of it then. After all, it was helping Tom
out of a scrape, and being sisterly, and then
" half," she could spare half very well for a
while. So her hand was smaller than Charlie
Spear's sister's, she did not think he noticed it
that clay ; and her meditations ended in going
up stairs for the half-eagle ; notwithstanding her
first resolve, and Tom's crossness.
It was a pretty hard struggle, though, when
OUT OF DANGER. 105
she came to open her work-box, and found it ly-
ing in the corner where she had first placed it,
in full relief upon the blue silk lining, almost as
bright as when it first came from the mint.
>he had denied herself many little things rather
t lian change it ; and she walked back more
slowly to the parlor concealing it in the palm of
her hand. Several others had come in, while
she was absent, and she did not get a chance to
give it to Tom until just as he was going.
" You can bring the change next time you
come/' she whispered, and Tom, now radiant
with amiability, really meant what he said,
when he promised to do so, without fail.
106 OUT OF DEBT,
THE DEBATING SOCIETY.
" Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth." PROVERBS.
THERE was an adjourned meeting of the " F ra-
ters," held in their reading room at the Academy
Party spirit ran unusually high this term ;
the " Dolphins/' familiarly so called, but in
reality the members of the Adelphi Literary
Society, had succeeded in enlisting "the most of
the new comers, and the " Social Fraternity/'
hitherto flourishing, found themselves in the
minority. Consequently a meeting had been
called, in which it had been " resolved/' that
their declining state was owing principally to the
shabby condition of the carpet and curtains in
their room, while the Dolphins had refurnished
a year before.
" Individual Societies, like nations," said
Frank Flanders, in the eloquent speech with
OUT OF DANGER. 107
which he supported this resolution, " have their
tides of popularity. But contrary to familiar
classical authorities, we find ourselves declining
when luxury diminishes, instead of when it is on
the increase among us. In other words, fellow
Fraters, if we would increase in numbers, in
strength, in influence ! if we would hurl our
audacious rival from the triumphant position
from which it so tauntingly derides our fallen
state ! however galling the admission may be to
us as a purely literary and scientific association,
we must sacrifice to mammon, and refurnish our
" Bravo ! bravo ! ' shouted Frank's party,
with Charlie Spear at their head ; but Charlie
Spear's room-mate, with a smaller band, did not
in any manner respond to this eloquent appeal.
It was supposed to be a secret session, but
the watchful Dolphins, gathered in their secre-
tary's room overhead, knew by the stamping and
clapping of hands, that their recently won lau-
rels were considered in peril by their rivals.
Then came a murmur of discussion like the hum
from a hive of startled bees. The Fraters were
deciding upon the style of carpet, and whether
the painted blinds should not be laid aside alto-
gether, and replaced by the glories of a muslin
108 <>UT OF DEBT,
curtain, with a Turkey red relief; what new
boy could resist such a combination for as
Frank Flanders said., in resuming his remarks,
" To change slightly a popular couplet, my
beloved compeers -
" Praters, like moths
Are only caught by glare."
Even the dissenting minority was caught by
this suggestion. The curtains would tell im-
mediately, on all strangers coming up the ave-
nue. The rival reading rooms, originally in-
tended as the parlor and sitting-room of the
Academy, were situated on either side of the
main entrance. The Dolphins, on their part, had
painted blinds to exclude the vulgar gaze, and
heighten curiosity, representing the broken
arches of some time-worn ruin, with what might
be moss, and might be horse-hair, streaming
from the top. The fraternity would have cur-
tains, it was carried unanimously, always ex-
cepting Robert Carter, the " stupid chum " of
" Well, then," said the last named young
gentleman, briskly, " all we have to do is to
appoint the committee, make the arrangements,
and send to Albany for the things "
OUT O F DANGER. 109
" Except raising the money to pay for them/'
" That's easy enough/' said Frank Flanders,
who pleaded poverty on all occasions, and was
notorious for spending the money of other
" But what will the amount be, do you
imagine ? ' asked Carter, paper and pencil in
" Ten or fifteen dollars/' said one of them
"Thirty or forty/' said Carter quietly ; "an
ingrain carpet, I suppose."
" Oh, no, let's have tapestry/'
" What's tapestry ? who's girl enough to
" What is tapestry ? ' said a chorus of
" That stuff like a rug thick and soft
ail over flowers, and thingumbobs," explained
Frank, from whom the suggestion came.
" Hurrah for tapestry ! ' shouted another,
" down with the Dolphins, and their old
" Yes, like our parlor carpets," said Charlie
" Ours too," said Tom Bleeker. " I go in
for tapestry, and Turkey red/'
110 OUT OF DEBT,
" Three cheers for Turkey ! ' shouted noisy
Joe Ferris, at his elbow.
" At midnight in his curtained tent,
A Turk was dreaming of the hour "
" Turkey-red curtains they were, when they
got through fighting and dyeing, any way."
" Don't be a goose, Joe far-fetched it isn't
c curtained ' any way, it's i guarded!
" That's what you'd better be, if you don't
want Peters insinuating his nose here," some
one called across the table to Ferris.
" Si lence ! ' called Frank Flanders with
a rap ; "to be, or not to be this is the
question ! '
" Put it then, and get done with it/' said
Ferris ; " I haven't got out a line of Horace yet,
and it's past eight."
" Very well then, gentlemen, it is moved
and seconded "
" No it is not seconded," interrupted Ferris,
" that's it."
" I second it," said Charlie Spear. " Very
well then, it is moved and seconded, that the
Social Fraternity expend the balance now in
treasury, and as much more as is necessary, on
a new Turkey carpet, and tapestry curtains."
OUT OF DANGER. Ill
" Cart before the horse, Frank ! '
" Order, gentlemen ! those in favor of this
motion will say /."
" Aye ! ' rang like a volley through the
room, causing consternation to the ranks of the
Dolphins overhead ; Carter alone was silent.
" Why don't you vote ? ' said Tom, jog-
ging him with his elbow.
" I don't approve of spending every thing in
carpet and curtains, when we haven't had a new
book in the library, or a new magazine on the
table for a year. Of course the fellows go to
the Dolphins, who buy every thing and take
" Pooh ! it is not that ! ' said Tom, feeling
nevertheless that there might be a great deal
of weight in the argument.
" Yes it is," said Carter stoutly. " Stevens
and Quincy both would have joined, if we had
taken Littell. Besides, we don't begin to have
enough on hand."
" Well, we must raise it then ! ' said Tom,
magnificently, fingering a vest pocket full of
change as he did so.
" Not so easy," objected the other. " I
can't subscribe a dime."
" Why ? " asked Tom.
112 O U T F D E BT ,
" Because I haven't got it, and can't get it,
that's all. Father has hard work enough to
pay my bills as it is."
He gave his explanation in a simple, straight-
forward way, neither hesitating nor with assumed
*/ J o
carelessness. Tom could not understand any
one who would so deliberately own to strait-
ened means, and keep within their limits ; but
he felt a new respect towards Carter from that
moment ; he knew that in such moral courage he
was entirely wanting. Frank Flanders was
always complaining of poverty, but that was a
different thing, a " get off," as Ferris said, when
he knew he was sure to be invited at the ex-
pense of some one else, for his jokes, and his
The Social Fraternity had risen in their own
estimation by the mere vote. The Dolphins
plotted counter measures among themselves,
instead of attending to the regular debates at
their next meeting. Boys that declined joining
either of these ambitious associations, were
drawn in. " BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION ! ; was
found chalked in large, straggling capitals, on
the door of the Fraters' reading-room ; even the
teachers were interested, and more honorary
members were elected, than ever were heard of
OUT OF DANGER. 113
at Yale or Harvard. The Fraternity held
mysterious consultations in the corridor, which
were suddenly broken off, if a Dolphin appeared
in view. They received important-looking des-
patches from Albany ; and returned immediate
replies, writing " In Haste ! ' all over the yel-
low envelopes, which were sealed with the large
seal of the Society, two hands in the most inse-
parable grasp on which a very unnecessary
amount of scarlet sealing-wax was wasted.
Tom Bleeker, as the head of the committee,
was perpetually drawing up some communica-
tion or report from the inner pocket of his
roundabout, and making numberless demon-
strations in class, on the cover of his Euclid,
which were entirely foreign to those propounded
by Mr. Peters.
To be sure, he thought now and then with
an uncomfortable twinge, that he had pledged
himself as one of five to pay all that was due
over the cash on hand, and the voluntary sub-
scriptions. He hesitated to do this, it is true,
but Charlie Spear reminded him, that as the
head of the committee, it was expected of him,
particularly as every body knew that he had the
richest father of any boy in school. To which
Joe Ferris added, "Fact, Tom! I only wish
114 OUT OF DEBT,
this child could say so ; every body knows that
you have more pocket-money than any two fel-
lows among us, except Charlie boy, who carries
California somewhere about him ;" which
speech was finished by a friendly and admiring
thump on Tom's back, which convinced him
that there was " no way to get out from it."
The bill at Kelly's was not yet settled, and
had been increased by sundry rides and drives
on holiday afternoons. Then there was another
at " Barker's," the village store, for " extras,"
commenced by sending jointly with some of the
others for " crackers and cheese," as all mis-
cellaneous eatables were entitled by them, which
were procured in his name ; and he had found
it convenient to add one or two items before the
second half-eagle was changed, promising him-
self not to let it amount to more than half a
dollar, though he kept no record of it. He did
not dare now to ask Charlie Spear about " that
little account," no longer small, and Charlie was
not the only one who had been glad to oblige
" such a clever, flush fellow, as Tom Bleeker."
Then, too, as his popularity and consequence
increased with the boys, it lessened with his
teachers, for a mind so ill at ease was not clear
enough to apply to his tasks as he once had
OUT OF DANGER. 115
done. Tom liked any society better than his
own, and escaped from it as much as possible.
Even in study hours, when he was compelled
"to stay at home with himself/' he managed to
escape from uncomfortable reflections by reading
some trashy, worthless, and even hurtful tale,
procured by stealth, and read against the rules,
while a thick cloud of dust settled on the Bible,
which he had been so proud to possess scarcely
a year before, and hurried prayers were often
entirely omitted. This, which seemed the end
of misdoing, was, in truth, its very commence-
ment. He had put out " the lamp of his guid-
ance, and his feet had stumbled upon the dark
116 n U T OF DEB T ,
" Wisdom is better than rubies.' 1 PROVERBS.
" TOM hasn't been down here in an age/' said
Clementina to her room-mate, one afternoon.
" I know it," said Josephine. " I was just
thinking of it. " Besides " but she checked
herself just as she was going to add, " he hasn't
given me that change yet, and I must have my
gloves before next Sunday."
" What ? " asked Clem. " Besides what ? "
' Oh, nothing/' said Josephine, still meditat-
ing uncomfortably on the large hole past draw-
ing together in one of her best pair.
: I guess he'll be here to-morrow/' continued
Clementina. " He's not sick, for he was at
church Sunday, you know. I wouldn't care, if I
" Oh, I don't ; ' said Josephine, shrugging
OUT OF DAN G E II . 117
her shoulders slightly. " It's not that. Do
you know your part, Clem ? for it's most time
for a rehearsal."
" Most. Let me see; we come in where
Marianne says, ' These are my jewels ! ' no, I
come in first, and carry off the children when
Livia arrives ; Ellen Hadly, you know. It was
very good in Marianne to choose us, when we
have been in so often. You announce Livia,
don't you ? We haven't much to say, for t hat-
" It's a very pretty dress, though I don't
suppose Roman slaves really did wear white
dresses, and blue sashes do you ? '
" Oh, we are captives, of course, and were
the daughters of a Nubian Prince, in our own
" Goodness ! Clem, Nubians are black.
Oh, well some prince or other come, let's go,"
and the room-mates betook themselves to one
of the smaller recitation rooms accordingly.
" Dialogues," as they called them, were
among the principal recreations at Kockville
Seminary. They were in reality scenes from
real life, or from ancient or modern history,
with dialogues to suit the characters, which were
spoken by the young ladies. The writers were
118 OUT OF D K P> T ,
selected from among the older girls, who usually
chose the other speakers. It was quite an honor
to be chosen, among the younger girls, who were
ambitious candidates accordingly. This plan
of dialogues, much like the acted charades,
since so common, was considered by Miss Anthon
an excellent exercise both in composition and
speaking, and she was usually at the rehearsals,
to suggest alteration and improvement.
" Now/' said Marianne Fanshaw, " here we
all are, except the children, and Mrs. Platt ;
we are going to borrow hers, girls- will bring
them in as soon as their faces are washed. I
am Cornelia, you know, and Ellen is Li via, a
noble lady come to pay me a call/'
" Clem, don't giggle when you come in after
the little Platts, or you'll spoil every thing/'
added Ellen, to this explanation. " You know
you did last time you were on a dialogue, just
when Maria told you your father was dead, and
you were an orphan."
" But she looked so ridiculous," said Clem,
laughing at the recollection of Maria Allen's
round, rosy face in a widow's cap, with a stiff
white paper border.
" Hush," said Marianne. " Now, I'm Cor-
nelia, you know, and sit here in my white
OUT OF DANGER. 119
wrapper, with a girdle, that is the leather belt
and buckle of my riding habit, and my hair in
a high braid, coming around, so. The little
Platts are playing at my feet. Joe appears
to announce Livia, and Clem comes in to carry
" But if she sees them when she comes, what
is the use of bringing them back again ? 7 asked
" Oh, never mind," said Marianne, good-
naturedly. " They're not supposed to be dress-
ed for company. The girls have so little to do,
I thought I'd let them come in as often as pos-
sible. Joe, I guess you'd better kneel when you
offer the tray of ' conserves, sweet and scented
wines/ ' quoted Miss Fanshaw, from her manu-
script. " It will have a very good effect. But,
come, let's begin. Enter, Livia." Whereupon,
Ellen Hadly emerged from behind a black-
board, carrying herself in a stiff, affected manner,
which was intended for stateliness, while Mari-
anne leaned on a desk in a pensive attitude, sup-
posed to be watching the gambols of the little
Platts on the floor. On this occasion, the entire
glory of authorship was due to Ellen.
The " Good morrow, lovely lady ! ' and
" Thrice welcome, noble dame ! ' of the saluta-
120 OUT OF DEBT
tion, hushed the audience into attention, and
the rehearsal proceeded with unusual success, to
What games are now in vogue, to make
the tardy hours more quickly pass ? What new
intrigues at court ?-
6 Or, in the common language of morning calls,
what's the news ? " interrupted Maria Allen.
" Hush ! ' said Marianne, " now here's my
Yes, much is even now transpiring, though,
to a stranger's eye, it may seem dull."
" Very ! ' whispered Maria, audibly.
Marianne composed her face once more " after
the high Roman fashion/' and continued :
" New games are every day invented to please
the vitiated taste of petty tribunes and of cour-
tiers vile, who taint the very air we breathe with
their base flatteries."
"Ahem ! ' coughed one of the audience,
which produced a deprecating, "Oh, please/'
from the speaker.
" I love not scenes like these ! yet 'twas this
morn I visited the Circus, to please my noble
Lord. Twice, and high the combat rose, be-
tween a proud Numidian lion, and a man whose
noble air sat ill beneath the tunic vile he wore.
OUT OF DAN G K R . 121
I watched him, for it seemed to me, I'd met his
glance in other days, and when at last he rose
victorious from the combat, and shook aloft his
gleaming spear, wet with the life-blood of his
adversary, I recognized in that bowed form,
one, who but a few short years ago, stood proud-
est in the Forum."
Marianne sighed profoundly, and hung her
head, like a child convicted of naughtiness,
while Ellen gave a tragic start forward, ex-
" It matters not/' said Marianne, reviving a
little. " Yet there I read a lesson on what men
call glory. As I said, a few short years ago, he
stood the proudest, midst the nobles of our land ;
and multitudes entranced, stood listening to the
burning words that flowed as a resistless torrent
from his tongue."
" Oh, what a fall was there ! ' exclaimed
Maria, pathetically. " Livia, you don't roll up
your eyes enough," while Livia proceeded :
" Aha ! I knew him well ! 'Twas Glacus
Cassius ! none other stood so high. Was this
his fate ? A star indeed has fallen from the
firmament ! (sighs.) Methinks e'en yet I see
122 OUT OF DEBT,
his ivory fingers, flashing with the mingled gleam
of pearl and diamond clear ! '
" Livia dotes on jewelry, doesn't she/' said
one of the girls.
" That's her part, you know," exclaimed
Josephine ; " listen, now Marianne has to ask
her about her husband."
" Rather late in the day," said Ellen Hadly's
sister. " People generally do that to begin
with. My dear Mrs. Jones ! delighted to see
you ; how are the children ? how is Mr. Jones ?
though they never wait to hear the answer.
But, where are they ? Oh, Mr. ' Livia,' or
e Fabius/ or e Valerius/ or whatever her hus-
band's name is, has given her a ring, and she's
Here Marianne goes in ecstasies. " Most
Livia : "And see this bright and curious jewel.
Are not these diamonds clear ? (showing her
bracelets) and have you aught to be compared
to this ? "
" Cool in ' Mrs. Livia/ whispered Maria
" S h, she hasn't finished," said Clemen-
' Now I bethink me, I would see thy caskets,
OUT OF D A N (} E R . 123
for no doubt thou'st many bright and curious
gems, gifts of thy noble Septimus."
Clementina at this juncture departed to
hurry the ablutions of the borrowed Platt chil-
dren, and the noble Cornelia having proceeded
with the statement
" Bright jewels, true, I have/' paused to lis-
ten for the scuffling of the unwilling little feet
in the hall ; being reassured by a glimpse of
calico pantalets on the piazza, she raised her
" But, hark ! I hear my children's voices/'
Enter Clementina, dragging the youngest
Platt, and promising the eldest candy, as she
hurried them in. Marianne, or rather Cornelia,
captured a hand of each and led them forward.
" These are my jewels, these the precious
gems that long shall sparkle on my crown of
fame. I ask no richer treasure, seek no other
boon than their sweet guileless love ! '
While Ellen, caressing one of the sunburnt
little heads, tried to make herself heard above
the chorus of laughter, exclaiming,
" And bright ones, truly ; this is a little
faithful copy of his sire "
" Where did you ever see him ? ' asked,
Maria. " Their -sire"
124 OUT OF DEBT,
" Bright ones, truly ! ' laughed another,
c: but a little polishing would not hurt them,"
and so the rehearsal broke up in a little hubbub
of criticism, laughter, and applause.
The speakers themselves adjourned to Mari-
anne Fanshaw's room, or rather Miss Bailey's,
who was absent, and Ann Brown sat sewing
quietly and very much at home by the window.
Clementina and Josephine exchanged glances.
Ellen Hadly nodded carelessly, and went on with
what she was saying.
" How are you going to manage with those
little Platts, any way ? '
" That's easy enough some white tunics
made out of an old skirt or something."
" I'll trim them with some worsted braid,"
" Thank you," said Marianne, in a friendly,
almost affectionate tone. " That's a good child,
if you're not too busy."
Miss Brown was certainly plain and awkward
usually, but here, where she felt quite at home,
and sure of being welcome, there was less
restraint than usual in her manner. " She
certainly lias very good eyes," thought Josephine,
as she sat watching her, " and her hair is very
thick and long, only it is put up so horridly ! '
OUT OF DANGER. 125
and then she looked at Ann's hands, which were
large, and far from delicate, showing that she,
had always been accustomed to use them un-
sparingly. And so she had ; as the eldest
daughter of a poor man, she had made, mended
and washed for the little ones ; and now she was
struggling to gain an education, that she might
teach them as well, aided by the kindness of
Miss Anthon and other friends, who, like Mari-
anne Fanshaw, recognized a noble heart and
mind beneath the plain exterior and poor
" What are you going to wear ? ' asked
Marianne of Ellen. " Oh, I have that jewelry
here now ; you wanted one of my bracelets."
" Why, yes, as I'm supposed to be covered
with trinkets. I have Maria's, and our Jenny's ;
I would like your cameo. Marianne, I think
you are the most fortunate girl I know."
" How so, Ellen ? " *
" Why, to have such lots of things ; most of
us girls are contented with a brooch, and a ring,
or a bracelet at least ; there's nobody but you
in school has a whole set, and you have both
turquoise and coral."
Marianne had unlocked a dark brass-mounted
dressing-case, and taken out the tray. There
126 OUT OF DEBT,
were several little white and green paper boxes,
such as ornaments often come in, and two large
morocco cases besides.
Josephine and Clementina both crowded
forward to look and admire.
" Are all those yours, Marianne ? '
" Yes," said she, quietly, and a little sadly,
they thought. She had been too young when
her mother died to recollect her, but she never
saw those morocco cases, which would not have
been hers but for that loss, without thinking that
she was motherless, and longing for the love and
sympathy, which she saw others receive.
" Would you mind opening them ? ' asked
Josephine, who " doted on jewelry ' quite as
much as the lady Livia.
" No, not at all ; ' and she unclasped the
cases, and displayed the rich, but old-fashioned
ornaments, on their velvet beds.
Josephine looked with greedy eyes, and
Clementina was so rude as to say, " they were
nothing to her mother's ornaments/ 3
" I wonder you don't wear more jewelry/'
said Josephine, as Marianne laid out what had
been purchased and presented to her, for Ellen
to choose from.
" I don't think I care for it particularly ; I'd
OUT OF DANGER. 127
rather have a knot of ribbon any day ; I think it
looks more simple and girlish ; or velvet bands
for my neck and wrists, such as Ann wears."
She said this for the sake of drawing Ann
into the conversation, or at least to let her see
that she was not forgotten, while others were
attended to. In this she was unlike many
rich and fashionable ladies we have met, who
slight and neglect people they condescend to en-
tertain alone, when others of a gayer set are
present. But this was not according to Mari-
anne's one golden rule of ladyhood, by which
she did all things habitually. She had given
Ann the velvet ribbon, and made it up for her,
though she did not think it was necessary to
speak of it : many would have said " such as I
" What a sweet ring ! ; said Josephine,
opening a little box that held this ring alone.
" May I take it out ? Oh, how little it is ! it
would just fit me/ ;
" Try it on, if you like," said Marianne good-
naturedly, for she saw Josephine longing to do so.
" I had it when I was about your age. Yes, I
think that ring would do better than the one you
have already, Ellen ; it is larger, and would
make more show/
128 OUT OF DEBT.
She spoke now of a blood-stone seal, Ellen
had discovered, and which she wanted to wear in
the dialogue. Josephine replaced the case on
the box, and put the ring on her forefinger.
It was a golden circlet, with five pearls, enclos-
ing a small ruby, and did fit her, though it was
rather loose. Josephine held out her hand ad-
miringly, for by this time you have no doubt
discovered that her hands were her chief vanity.
Some one had told her that a small hand was
the mark of " a born lady " and from that time
she had measured every body by this standard.
Marianne's hands were larger, but soft and white,
and well formed. Clementina had short, thick
fingers ; Ann Brown's no pretensions at all, as
she looked around the room ; and Ellen Hadly's,
like Ellen herself, had no special claims, one
way or the other.
" It's a shame, this doesn't belong to me,"
thought Josephine, returning to the ring, and
the hand that wore it, with renewed admiration.
" It sets off my hand beautifully, and Marianne
never wears it. I should think she might give
it to me, or let me wear it a little while any
way ; I would be as careful as possible. Ellen
borrows the girls' things, and so does Maria. I
wonder why mamma told me not to ; I do think
OUT OF DANGER. 129
my mother is the most particular woman that
ever lived and breathed."
It was getting dark in the room, but there
was a wood fire, that glowed and flashed upon
the group around the table. Ellen and Marianne,
still busy with the ornaments, replacing them
now, and Clementina, leaning over the table
with both elbows on it, and her chin in her
hands, a favorite position with Miss Jones, was
idly watching them. Ann had found it too
dusky for her sewing, and sat with it in her lap,
looking into the pleasant wood fire, and castle-
building, no doubt.
" I wonder if Marianne remembers that I
have it," flashed through Josephine's thoughts
directly. " If she doesn't, there would be no
harm in wearing it just to-morrow, for Tom will
be sure to come, and who knows but Charlie
Spear or some of them may call for him, and I
can always go to the door to see him off ! It is
perfectly lovely. I don't believe Marianne would
care ; and if I wear it off without saying a word,
it wouldn't be borrowing it ! '
She looked almost stealthily around the room
again. All was as before, and Marianne had
forgotten about it, for she had replaced the
130 OUT OF DEBT,
empty box, and was just closing the dressing-
" What difference does it make ?" whispered
the Temptation to Josephine, again. " Mari-
anne would not mind if she did know, I don't
believe ; only if I tell her, that would be borrow-
ing, and I will return it all safe and sound Mon-
day, before school."
The golden band, and the pearls, were very
fascinating on that half-extended forefinger, and,
as Marianne turned the key of the dressing-
case with a snap, Clementina, suddenly recollect-
ing a half-finished story, called her away. She
bade Marianne a hurried good-by, and the next
minute was going down Poverty Lane with the
ring on her hand, but unnoticed by Clementina
in the darkness.
OUT OF DANGER. 131
" The wicked flee when no roan pursueth." PROVERBS.
IT could not be always dark, and Clementina
would be sure to see the ring ! This was the first
uncomfortable reflection as they reached their own
room. " Where would be the best place to put
it ? ' thought Josephine, with sudden recollec-
tion of any spot which was not considered com-
She could not get at her trunk without ex-
citing too much attention, for it was empty,
Clementina knew as well as herself, and had the
close chintz cover besides. There was her writ-
ing desk, but she had unfortunately lost the key.
Her workbox was so small that it could be lifted
and carried away almost as easily as a ring, if
any one was inclined to steal it. For the first
time, thoughts of thieves intruded themselves.
132 OUT OF DEBT,
Such a thing had never been heard of at Rock-
ville. Even the teachers did not lock their
drawers, or doors, as there were no servants to
lead into temptation, and no one had access to
the main building but those in whose honesty
they had the most implicit confidence. But
nothing else was at hand, and under pretence of
replacing a spool, though she might have opened
her box twenty times, without being particularly
noticed, the ring was put under a roll of tape,
and Josephine went down to tea. The necessity
she felt of making an excuse about the spool,
might have shown her that she was in fault ;
but having once done wrong she would not stop
to think. Several of the girls noticed what ex-
cellent spirits Josephine seemed to be in, at the
tea table, and how pretty she looked, for her
cheeks were flushed, her eyes unusually bright,
and she talked incessantly. But she heard every
step that sounded across the piazza, with an in-
ward fear of robbery, and avoided meeting-
Marianne's eye, every time she spoke to her.
She began to wish the ring safe back in its place,
but it would be so mortifying to own that she
had taken it, without having the pleasure of
wearing it once, at least.
When they left the dining-room, Josephine
OUT OF DANGER. 133
pushed by every one, and hurried up stairs to
raise the box cover with fear and trembling.
The ring was there, safe, and more beautiful
than ever, in her eyes. She would not return
it just then ; Marianne migM be displeased, after
all, and she would have some pleasure from it,
having risked so much. So she sat down to her
lessons, still keeping the box in sight, lest Clem-
entina should take a fancy to help herself to a
string, or button, as she often did.
" So far so good/' thought she. as they blew
out the light, and jumped into bed without any
discoveries ; but though Josephine usually fell
asleep only too easily to suit Clementina, who
liked to talk, it was in vain now that she at-
tempted to forget herself. She shook up her
pillow to no purpose, and settled herself in her
favorite position. The workbox stood on the
table alarmingly near the window. How easily
any one could raise the sash and carry it off !
She had a great 'mind to get up and put it on ;
but then Clem might wake first, and see it.
Finally, after a great many plans and sugges-
tions, she waited until Clementina was sound
asleep, and, making as little noise as she could,
stepped out of bed, and put the box under her
pillow. But if she turned in the night, the box
134 OUT OF DEBT,
might fall out, and betray her by the noise ! if
she pushed it further along, it would be too near
Clementina ! Finally, she raised one corner of
the mattress as carefully as she could, watching
the sleeper's face every instant, in the misty
light of the faint, new moon.
Clementina, having no ring on her conscience,
slept through these various manoeuvres, and
Josephine tried to compose herself once more.
The box underneath did not add to the softness
of her pillow, and her sleep, when sleep came,
was disturbed by restless dreams, in which the
little Platts, Livia and her jewels, were mingled
in the most fantastic and uncomfortable man-
The dialogue was to be spoken in the last
morning hour, instead of the usual reading aloud
of the best composition from each class. Jose-
phine wondered to find how little interest she
had in it now. Usually, the girls selected in
this way were excused from one or two lessons,
and had access to the teachers at any hour, for
counsel in any unexpected emergency. Jose-
phine chose to practise, as usual, though she
had an arpeggio lesson, which she particularly
disliked, leaving the others to arrange the
drugget, which served as a carpet, the couch
OUT OF DANGER. 135
and the marble-topped centre table, which were
to represent the morning room of " Cornelia/'
at one end of the drawing hall.
She knew Marianne would be there, and,
instead of seeking her society as she had always
done before, she avoided every possible encounter,
and when finally summoned to dress for her
part, took care not to arrive until she was sure
that "Cornelia* had taken up her position.
The Dialogue passed off very prosperously ; the
audience being disposed favorably, and overlook-
ing any little discrepancies in scenery or cos-
tume, in the most charitable manner. At any
other time, Josephine would have lingered to
catch any criticism on herself or others, but now
she slipped away unnoticed to open the box, and
assure herself, once more, of the safety of her
" Tom must come this afternoon/' she
thought, as, locking the door, and drawing the
curtain, she indulged herself in trying it on once
more. " I shall wear my stone-colored cashmere,
and my scarlet sacque, down to the parlor, and
perhaps Miss Anthon will allow him to walk
with me when I go to the store for my gloves.
Gloves I must have, that's certain. These are
forlorn ! "
136 OUT OF DEBT,
But in vain was the careful toilette, the
nicely braided hair, the ring itself, which, gain-
ing courage from Marianne's silence, and Clem's
preoccupation, she ventured at last to put on,
taking the precaution, however, to wear the
pearls inside, so as to make the narrow gold
band scarcely noticeable, though it could be
turned to display them fully on her way down
stairs, if Tom and his friends did come.
" Are you sure no one has been here for
ine ? " she asked, more than once, of the rnoni-
tress, and finally she became so restless, and
really uneasy, for she depended on having
her gloves to wear the next day, and needed
some new drawing-pencils badly, that she took
her book, and sat down by the hall window,
which commanded a view of the Academy road,
to watch for herself.
The afternoon dragged on, and she sat there,
cold and uncomfortable, besides " missing a great
deal of fun," as Clementina assured her, in
their own room, where their own set had gathered.
She strained her eyes to watch every figure ap-
pearing in the distance, only to meet with a
fresh disappointment as it came nearer. It
seemed as if every body was called for but her.
She could hear the laughing and talking in the
OUT OF DANGER. 137
parlor, and the bell ringing every ten minutes,
but no one said, " Is Miss Bleeker in ? ' and
she had no right to join them. Then she began
to wonder if she had offended Tom, and she
thought over every thing she had said the last
time they met. But that was not it, Tom
shunned her, as she shunned Marianne, and grew
more miserable and reckless every day.
In their city home, a mother prayed that
her absent children might be " shielded from
temptation," but sometimes this prayer, of all
others, seems denied, and our dear ones are suf-
fered to be taken in the snare, that they may be
more watchful for the future, and learn where to
apply for help, when they at length come to ask,
" deliver us from evil."
Mrs. Bleeker, still careful and troubled, often
rested in the thought that two of her children
were surrounded by good influences, and spared
the annoyances which daily increased at home.
Their letters, so childishly full of their own plans
and occupations, were among her chief pleasures,
and if she noticed that Tom's were briefer and
more irregular than usual, it was only to think
that he was making the most of advantages
which might not be long continued to him, and
had not time, as of old.
138 OUT OF DEBT,
The twilight deepened into evening, and
Josephine reluctantly gave up all hope. She
really wanted to see Tom. She felt more lonely
and homesick than she had done before, since
vacation ; every thing seemed to trouble her,
and disappoint her. When older people find
this depression creeping over them, they know
from past experience, some act or wish of their
own is in a great measure the cause. Josephine
had never experienced it before, and thought it
was all owing to her disappointment of the after-
noon, as she undressed, and threw herself wearily
on the bed, the instant the bell rang for study
hours to be over. Clementina had gone into
one of the other rooms to hear the conclusion
of one of the afternoon's jokes, and at last, in
fear of her return, ^he forced herself to rise, re-
arrange the workbox with its concealed treasure,
and pretended to be asleep when her room-mate
returned, to avoid the chatter she was sure,
otherwise, to have to listen to.
' The next morning was cold and cheerless.
The sky had a dull, leaden, immovable tinge.
It w r as late in the season for a heavy storm, yet
every one prophesied " snow," as they opened
their windows, for the prescribed airing of rooms.
Josephine fretfully declared it could not be. If
OUT OF DANGER. 139
they went to church she should get a glimpse of
Tom, and perhaps he able to speak to him.
Besides, she had no overshoes yet, and her thick
boots were giving out.
" She hated snow, and sloppy weather. She
did not see what in the world it wanted to snow
for at this season of the year, the second week
in March ! "
" Come and see for yourself, then ! ' said
Clementina, quite as crossly, for she thought
Josephine had been particularly " poky and dis-
agreeable '' the last day or two.
Her own window gave the best view of the
sky, and determined not to make the threatening
clouds snow, Josephine went slowly towards it.
Both the girls were dressed for church. Cle-
mentina wore a broadcloth Talma cloak, the
only one in school, and prided herself on intro-
ducing it accordingly. She had pretty chin-
chilla furs besides, a muff, and victorine. Jose-
phine's bright-colored highland shawl, fell in
soft warm folds around her, and she too had a
muff, of less expensive fur, white and black, but
still neat and comfortable. Their bonnets were
laid out on the bed, ready to put on at a
" I don't believe it's snow. There, I told
140 OUT OF DEBT,
you so it's raining now ! ' and she stretched
out her ungloved hand, on which she had just
put the ring for safe-keeping in her ab-
sence from the house, to catch the drops she
imagined were falling.
An instant more, and she had drawn it back,
with a clutch and a cry. The ring was gone !
it had fallen from her finger, and she saw it
dropping through the air, down, down, out of
reach, out of sight even, as it struck a stone,
and glanced away under the crisp, sere autumn
leaves, that the wind had heaped beneath the
Gone, beyond her reach ! and Clementina
stood there, wondering at her strange cry and
Her first impulse to rush away along the
hall, down the piazza, had to be restrained.
The inexorable bell was already ringing for them
to assemble in the great hall, and the bright,
young faces of her school-mates were looking in
at the door, as they passed. Clementina, for-
getting her momentary astonishment, hurried
on her bonnet, and was soon absorbed in tying
the strings into the exact bow, which alone she
considered presentable. Josephine, stunned,
and heart-sick, followed her from the room,
OUT OF DANGER. 141
hoping even yet to slip away to the garden.
The line was already formed, and passing out
of the front door, two bv two ; she was obliged
to fall into her place, and follow Miss Anthon
up the village street, and to her own place in
the great Seminary pew, full of this new
calamity, and with a harrowing uncertainty, as
to the fate of the coveted, but treacherous
From her corner, by Miss Bailey, she saw, to
her dismay, the snow-flakes begin to fall, and
settle on the window-ledge, as if it was some-
thing more than what the villagers called "a
She felt that it was wicked to let her
thoughts wander so in church, and tried again
O J o
and again to fix them on the service, but they
would fly back to her troubles, and endless
planning to find her way out of them.
She was noted in the class-book of the mis-
tress as inattentive, but she could not help it.
She was scarcely "conscious of her own restless
Tom was there, so he was not sick, but Tom
in Mr. Peter's train was as inaccessible to a
Seminary girl, as if he had been shut up in the
Arctic regions with Sir John Franklin. The
142 OUT OF DEBT,
Academy students were marched down one
aisle, and turned to the left ; the Seminary
troop walked down the other, turning to the
right. A nod in the vestibule was all the con-
solation Josephine gained from the sight of her
brother ; as they were detained by the raising
of umbrellas, and adjusting cloaks and shawls,
to meet the storm by people in the doorway.
There was no disputing it now, Josephine
saw with a shiver, as their turn came. The
snow covered the ground as in mid-winter, and
was falling soft, and mute, and thickly still.
To those who were prepared to meet it, it was a
pleasant and healthful thing, battling through
the storm, the little way they had to walk ; and
they came in with faces glowing from the wind
and drifting snow. But Josephine had no over-
shoes, her feet were chilled, and she could not
laugh with the rest at the powdered hair, which
had suddenly come into fashion. There was no
getting into the garden then, for she saw the
snow had drifted across the gate.
Of course there was no going out again in
the afternoon, and Josephine found it wretched,
with a book in her hand which she did not read,
her Sunday duties neglected, and her spirits as
chilled and miserable, as the poor little snow-
OUT OF DANGER. 143
birds hopping about out of doors. The storm
ended in rain and sleet, towards night fall, as
spring storms often do ; and the last time Jose-
phine looked despairingly out of the window,
she saw the clouds breaking away, and drifting
in heavy masses across the rising moon. A
bitter wind tossed the great pine trees of the
wood across the common, bowing and swaying,
with a melancholy surging music, like a loud
organ strain from some vast instrument. Black
shadows trooped across the snowy plain, crested
with sleet, and down in the garden, where bare
fruit trees and ice-bound shrubbery bent to the
wind. There was a wild beauty in the night,
which Josephine felt, as she lingered over the
dreary view ; but her room-mate could not com-
prehend it, and wondered what she could see,
such a dark dismal evening, to keep her stand-
ing there so long. Clementina pulled up the
blankets, and sank slowly into a delightful nap,
the warmth of the room and bed contrasting
with the dreariness without, and the last time
her eyes languidly opened, Josephine was stand-
ing there still not yet undressed, though the
light had been put out long before, when the
bell rang, the fire was going down, and the room
getting colder every minute.
144 OUT OF DEBT,
A sudden project had come into Josephine's
mind, as she looked down into the garden, and
wondered where, beneath this great white cover-
ing, the ring was hidden. The snow might melt
very slowly, and the ring would be ruined, or
perhaps found and stolen before she could get
an opportunity to search for it. Marianne
would discover its absence, and there would be
the shame and mortification of a public repri-
But the ring must be there there within her
reach, if she knew the precise spot whence it had
rolled, as she was almost certain she did. It could
not have gone farther than the roots of the
great sweet-brier ; and as she thought of it, she
imagined she had seen it arrested there ; that
she could almost see it now, sparkling beneath
She drew a short, quick breath, and looked
into the room. Clementina's round, careless
face, lay upon the pillow, in the full repose of a
first sound sleep. How she envied it, as she
listened to the deep, regular breathing ! It
seemed so long since -she had been tempted to
take the ring almost like years, instead of
davs. Oh, if she had never seen it, or if she
could but hold it in her hand once more, as she
OUT O F D A N G K R . 145
had done that morning, and so go to Marianne
with a free and full confession of her fault.
All over the large building silence and dark-
ness had fallen. The last round of the moni-
tress had been taken, the lights died out one by
one from the teachers' rooms, looking on to the
play ground. Three hours before, Mrs. Platt
had deposited the juveniles in their trundle bed,
and herself on the cot, in the little room off the
kitchen. What should she be afraid of?
Josephine did not stop to hesitate longer, lest
her forced courage should desert her. She knew
that the outer door of the corridor was locked by
the monitress, who kept the key, but Clemen-
tina's window opened on the piazza, or rather
gallery, from which a flight of stairs led to the
play ground. If she could but snap the bolt,
and raise the sash without awaking her !
She tried it first, and was successful. The
cold night air rushed in ; Clementina only stirred,
and turned as it touched her face, then breathed
as regularly as before ; a woollen shawl lay on the
chair, and wrapping it about her, the venturous
girl climbed out upon the piazza.
How like a guilty creature she felt, as she
stole along under the windows, and crept down
stairs, starting at the creak of a board, or the
146 OUT OF DEBT,
flapping of an unfastened shutter. But no
window opened, no voice challenged her, and by
the obscured moonlight she gained the garden
safely. The crust was not sufficiently strong to
bear her in many places ; but that was a little
thing the cold wet snow in which she sank,
when it gave way with a crackling sound. She
reached the sweetbrier at last, but the snow had
drifted heavily around it ; and she had to look
for a broken branch to aid her search. All in
vain, she worked with almost frantic eagerness ;
no trace, no clue. If she only knew just where
to remove the snow, but it was so hopeless to be
groping there with benumbed feet and hands,
when she might be yards from the spot.
Suddenly the moon shone out, with a wan
and ghastly light, on the snow, on the pine trees
writhing in the wind, on the tall, spectral
building before her, with its numberless windows,
like so many curious eyes, fastened upon her
movements. A watch dog, somewhere between
her and the wood, he might be crouching under
the very wall ready to spring upon her as she
paused, commenced baying, at the moon, a long,
low, melancholy whine, interrupted by fierce
short barks, from some fellow guardian of the
night ; and with the sound, and the sense of the
O U T OF DANGER. 147
stillness around her, as she raised her head and
held her breath to listen, the loneliness, and
perhaps danger of her position flashed over her
with a great and sudden fear, that scarcely
gave her strength to fly.
She never clearly remembered how she gained
her own room again ; it was all a maze of horror,
like one struggling to walk in a dream, and pur-
sued by phantoms. But she stood there,
trembling, her limbs failing beneath her, her
very blood benumbed with cold and terror, and
her clothes clinging chill and damp about her
feet. She crouched down on the floor by the
unconscious sleeper, not daring to close the win-
dow, or to undress for a long, long time ; and
then she darted across the room, did what must
be done without daring to look over her shoulder,
and shrank, shivering and trembling into bed.
148 OUT OF DEBT,
A TRUE FRIEND.
" Open rebuke is better than secret love."
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend.'' PROVERBS.
' CLEAR across the gallery ! You don't say so ! '
exclaimed Clementina, raising her hands, as she
stood in the midst of the group, that always
gathered around the stove before morning
" Yes," said one of the girls, " and Miss An-
thon thinks some of the things are taken from
the wardrobe closet in our hall, but she hasn't
had time to look thoroughly, yet."
" I heard a tremendous noise," said Agnes
Hadly. " Didn't we, Ellen? like forty men
tramping past the window."
" Pooh ! vou always hear wonders,' said
Ellen, contemptuously. " I didn't hear a sound.
" There's tracks all through the garden,
continued the principal informant. " They must
have been prowling round."
OUT OF DANGER. 149
"Who?'' asked Josephine, who had just
come down wrapped up in a shawl, and shiver-
ing, as she tried to get close to the stove.
" Thieves ! my dear, haven't you heard ?
Mercy ! what's the matter, Joe ? you're as white
as a ghost, and have great black circles around
your eyes ! "
" Nothing," said Joe shortly ; " I wish people
would let me alone."
" I've got a horrid sore throat," said Clem-
entina ; " where I got it I can't imagine, unless
coming home in the snow, yesterday."
( Of course that was it," Josephine said, in
the same unpleasant tone. " I wonder we did
not all get our deaths ! '
" Do you know," interrupted Agnes Hadly,
still full of the grand discovery of the morning,
'I imagined I heard a window shut down,
somewhere along Poverty Lane ? though I sup-
pose it is all imagination, according to Ellen."
You always were frightened at your
shadow," said her sister, graciously.
" Well, Mrs. Platt says she heard the dogs
bark a great deal, and there's the track ; see for
Josephine had not thought of this. How
guilty and miserable she felt as she sat there
150 OUT OF DEBT,
among them ; her feet like ice ; though she had
them on the stove hearth, her hands dry and
. The story of the robbing at the Seminary,
though nobody could tell exactly what was
taken, spread through the village, notwithstand-
ing Miss Anthon did her best to prevent it. It
had originated with Mrs. Platt, who being up
very early, saw the track of feet, though the
crust had been broken so irregularly, that it was
impossible to tell whether the intruder was man
or boy. Mrs. Platt rushed to Miss Anthon in
her night-dress, and begged " that the constable
should be sent for immediately, and thought
they should have a dog held by an iron chain at
each door, and wouldn't Miss Anthon look in
the store room, and see if that last barrel of
flour ' was safe ! ' So it had been talked over
among the boarders, and been carried home by
Tom Bleeker heard it at the post-office on
Wednesday evening. It was his turn to carry
the mail bag from the Academy, and to bring
back the letters and papers for the students.
So " whistling as he went ' -not for want
of thought, but to drive it out of his mind, if
possible, as he passed the Seminary in spite of
OUT OF DANGER. 151
himself, the recollection of poor Joe's sad face
on Sunday, and how shamefully he had used
her, about spending her money, and keeping
away from her so ; would intrude ; he had
reached the pine woods, and resolving all sorts
of virtuous conduct for the future, when some
one sprang up suddenly from the shelter of the
fence, and caught his arm.
Tom was no coward ; but a thought of all
the tales of witches he had ever heard came in-
to his mind, as he shook the grasp of the un-
known's hand off of his arm, and ejaculated,
" Who are you ? "
"It's me Josephine ! Oh, Tom, I must
speak to you ! ' said a frightened voice from
under the queer-looking hood. " Why haven't
you been to see me ? why haven't you brought
me my money ? I must have the money all of
it, I want it now. Hasn't father sent you any
yet ? "
" No," said Tom, in a surly tone, provoked
at being so openly " dunned " as he called it.
" What are you doing out here, this time of
night, and thieves around too ? '
" There are no thieves, it was me I went
to hunt for the ring Marianne's ring ; I took it
without telling her, and I've looked and looked,
152 OUT OF DEBT,
every chance I could get, and now the snow is
melting so fast, and it is not there. It must
have rolled down that great hole the moles
made last year, don't you remember ? such an
elegant ring ! and I must buy her another, and
so I must have the money, Tom won't you get
it for me ? ;
a Where do you suppose I'm going to get,
it ? Money doesn't grow in Kockville."
" Don't speak so cross ! dear, dear Tom.
I'm 50 unhappy ; I have not slept for three
nights, and every body suspects me. Ann
Brown must have seen me take it, she looks at
me so ! I hate her worse than ever, and Mari-
anne avoids me ! Oh, what sliall I do ? Can't
you get me the money, Tom ? don't say no !
Frank Flanders owes you, you said so/'
" Not half so much as I owe Charlie Spear,
and half a dozen other boys ! There's no use
teasing a fellow's life out, when it's an impos-
" But it's mine, Tom," urged the oxcited
girl " mother gave it to me ! '
" And you've lent it, and I've spent it,"
said Tom, attempting a laugh.
" What shall I do ? ' said his sister again,
pulling nervously at the corner of her shawl.
OUT OF DANGER. 153
" If I could earn it any way, I would never ask
you for it again. I would sit up all night to
earn it, if I only knew how. Can't you help
me ? "
" It was very foolish of you to borrow the
ring, any way," said Tom, glad to lose sight of
his own misdemeanors, as many a one had done
before him, in lecturing some one else for
"But I didn't borrow it you don't under-
stand ! I took it without saying any thing to
Marianne ; I thought she would not care, and I
meant to give it back to her, right away."
" So much the worse," said Tom, with a
burst of virtuous indignation. "I never
thought a sister of mine would steal ! '
But Josephine, crying violently now, between
excitement and disappointment, did not retort,
as she might have done.
" Write to mother for it," suggested Tom,
" I don't dare to," sobbed Josephine. " She
told me so often that was every cent she could
spare, and I should have to say I lent it to you,
you know, Tom."
"Let her think you've spent it."
Oh, Tom ! Tom ! counselling a sister to
154 OUT OF DEBT,
falsehood, and to conceal your fault ; what a
change wrong doing has indeed wrought.
Josephine, absorbed in her own anxiety,
noticed only the implied self-condemnation.
She could not do herself injustice, and shook
"Well, I can't stay here all night!' said
Tom, shouldering the mail bag which he had
rested on the stump of a tree. " It will make
a sweet story as it is, if any one has seen us ;
they wouldn't know it was me."
" What else could I do ? ' said Josephine,
humbly. " I found out it was your turn, and
so I stole out, and hid myself here, half an
hour ago. They were all at tea. Miss Anthon
sent me to my room this afternoon, she said she
knew I was sick, for I haven't had a decent
recitation this week, my head has ached so !
I thought you would be sure to help me some
way, when you knew how miserable I was."
" You got yourself into the scrape, and you
must get out of it, the best way you can," said
Tom, cheeringly. "I've got troubles enough of
my own, yours don't begin."
" But, Tom, you don't really owe so much,
do you ? I thought you were only trying to
OUT OF DANGER. 155
" Don't I, though ! I wish I didn't ! " said
Tom, with less bravado, and more settled gloom.
It aggravated him to know that Josephine was
in trouble too, and he could not help speaking
crossly to her. He was full of all bitter and
impatient thoughts, as he left her, and went on
his way, angry at Charlie and Frank, for getting
him " into such a scrape," as he called it, at his
father and mother, for making him " such a
mean allowance," and most of all, angry at him-
self, at having been so rough towards his poor
For her, the last avenue of hope was shut,
as she walked slowly back to the house, her
head bent down, and the hot tears falling so
thick and fast. Marianne must know it now,
that she had taken the ring and lost it, and
worse still, could not replace it. How much
Marianne would have to forgive her, if she
forgave her at all ! And what should she say
to Miss Anthon, who had charged her to have a
pair of overshoes before another day, and had
scolded her severely, because she had neglected
to get them, and so exposed herself to sickness.
She longed to throw herself in her mother's
arms, and tell her all ; but her mother was far
away, ignorant of all her unhappiness.
156 OUT OF D K B T ,
She stopped on the landing opposite Mari-
anne's room, to get breath ; the pain in her
side was so very bad, going up stairs. Lately
she had darted by it for fear of encountering her
friend, and now, as she stood there in the black
shadow of the unlighted hall, Miss Baily came
out, and went down, leaving the door open
behind her. Marianne was sitting by the study
table, all alone, looking so good and calm, as
the light from, the shaded lamp fell on her face,
and the smoothly banded hair.
Shrinking and cowering for a moment, Jose-
phine sprang forward the next, urged by some
irresistible influence, and sitting down on the
floor at her friend's feet, laid her head in her
lap, and sobbed, and sobbed, as if her heart
Marianne, startled as she was, asked no
questions. She only looked down pityingly on
the weak child, and smoothed her hair, as her
mother would have done, with those soft hands.
Gradually a sense of comfort came with this
gentle caress, she ceased to sob so violently, and
at last looked up into those loving eyes, with
" Please don't hate me, Marianne ; please
" Why should I hate my poor sick little
A True Friend. p. 156.
OUT OF DANGER. 157
friend ? " said Miss Fanshaw, soothingly. " I'm
afraid you are nervous, dear, and you have been
out too, with only this cape and hood ; you
ought not to do so, no wonder you get sick."
"It's not that! don't you truly know?
Don't scold me till I get through you can't tell
how ill it has made me. Oh, your beautiful
ring, Marianne ! and I can't buy you another ;
not now, I mean, and you must not ask me
why ! "
" Is that all ? " asked Miss Fanshaw,
pleasantly, when the broken tale was at length
concluded. " The ring was not of much value
' f I know," interrupted Josephine, " but I
heard you tell Helen how much you thought of
it, from some other reason ; that was what made
me feel the worst all the while, though you are
very, very good, and I know pearls must cost a
great deal ! '
" It was the seal ring, fortunately, the
pearl ring was given to me by an aunt I never
saw but twice. The seal ring was my mother's."
" Oh, I am so thankful ! ' said Josephine,
brightening up with sudden energy. " So very,
very thankful. Will you tell Miss Anthon it
was me, and not thieves ? I was so dreadfully
158 OUT OF DEBT,
frightened that night ! And please tell her
not to ask me about overshoes again. I can't
get any, and I can't tell."
" It may be found yet," said Miss Fanshaw,
encouragingly, " and then you would not have
to replace it ; if I was ever so exacting ; though,
Josephine," and here she stopped a minute,
hesitatingly, " I do not think you have done
" I knoiv I haven't." There was so much
humility and submission in the tone, that it was
hard for Marianne to go on reprovingly.
" I don't think you will mistake me, Joe ;
truly, I do not care very much for the ring, I
have so many, and I never wear them, as you
know. But, dear child, all the troubles in our
lives come from little beginnings, I have found
that out already ; troubles that we make for
ourselves, I mean ; those God permits, but does
not send directly, so to speak such as come
through our i secret faults/ our besetting sins.
You will not think me unkind, will you, Joe ? '
u Oh, no ! dear Marianne ; no, indeed !
Please go on."
" These are pretty little hands," continued
Miss Fanshaw, taking one of Josephine's softly
between her own, " and this is smooth, bright
OUT OF DANGER. 159
hair ; but Josephine Bleeker thinks too much
of them, and admires them a great deal more
than any one else does/'
A mortified, almost angry feeling, made the
little girl feel like snatching the hand away ;
she wanted to be comforted after all, and not
" My dear child/' said Marianne, still more
seriously, " the deepest mortifications, and sor-
rows and errors in a woman's life, spring from
unchecked vanity. I know the mortifications in
my own case, and I have seen the sorrow."
" You ! you never were vain ! '
" Vainer than vanity itself, I am now, in
the very bottom of my heart ; you don't know
how many ways there are for it to struggle out,
or to hide itself. But never mind now, Josephine,
parading faults, we think we have conquered,
is one of these ways. You know you are a pretty
little thing Clementina admires you, and tells
you of it continually ; the girls praise your
compositions, and look up to you, there in your
class ; Miss Anthon has too much to see to, to
have time for studying character closely. You
have a great many temptations now, Joe, and
if you don't begin in earnest, you will have more
160 OUT OF DEBT,
falls, and harsher judgments than mine. You
can trust my love/'
It was very unpalatable truth, for all that,
and Josephine did not look up, or speak ; the
consciousness that Marianne was right made the
" Now, I am going to see you safely in bed/'
said Miss Fanshaw, seeing that Josephine's cold
was worse than even she herself had realized, in
the strength that anxiety had given her, and
playfully raising the reluctant head. " No more
midnight, or twilight rambles, if you please,
Miss Bleeker, or I shall feel in duty bound to
But Josephine, making a great effort to
overcome the unjust and unkind feelings that
were springing up, kissed her true friend with
real warmth, and went to her room alone. She
knew that Clementina had permission to study
in one of the other rooms, lest the glare of the
lamp should trouble her, as it often did when
she had those bad headaches, and she wanted
to be all alone, to think.
It was a very rambling and interrupted self-
examination, but it was the beginning of the
hardest of all studies, " self-knowledge." She
traced back her troubles to the very commence-
OUT OF D A N G K 11 . 161
merit, on that pleasant Saturday, when she had
written the wonderful poem, and found it was
the boyish flattery of her brother's friend, which
had decided her to lend money that she actually
needed ; she had not even the satisfaction of
feeling that it was purely to oblige Tom. Then
she wondered that sh.e had not thought, at the
time, she was helping Tom in what, seemed
to be his besetting sin.
Marianne was certainly right about vanity
being at the bottom of the borrowed ring. Then
can a glimmering of her mother's rule about
thnt, and many other things she had thought
h: i and over strict. A sense of shame and re-
m >rse for unjust thoughts towards this kind,
loving mother, brought a feeling nearer to
humility than Josephine had ever known before,
and as she rose from asking forgiveness of her
Father in Heaven, she thought nothing could
ever tempt her to err again ; she was sure she
could not, having suffered so much. There was
one thing, only, forgotten* in Josephine's prayer,
and penitence, the most important of all ; but
she did not know yet, that " of herself she could
162 OUT OF DEBT,
" Debt, like the moth, makes valueless furs and velvets."
IF Josephine could have seen " what they were
all doing at home r ' that night, as she wished,
in falling asleep, she would have found the
table still standing, waiting for her father to
come in to tea, and Oily at one of the front win-
dows watching for him by the glare of the street
lamps, upon the slippery pavement.
Mrs. Bleeker, sewing by her little work-table,
her hands were never idle now, not even to
take up the new books and magazines she so
much loved to read, glanced up at the clock
occasionally, as her needle flew in and out the
little apron she was making almost mechanically.
It was well the work was plain, for she sighed now
and then, quite as unconsciously as she threaded
OUT OF DANGER. 163
her needle, like one who checks herself in a
train of dreary thoughts and speculations, only
to take it up, and go on again, more wearily
" Here comes a carriage/' said Olive, putting
her little round head out from her tent-like
hiding-place. "It's going to stop here yes,
somebody's getting out."
" Perhaps some friend has brought papa
home," said Mrs. Bleeker, a little uneasily. It
was so very late, but then it often was now ;
Olly's watch . was almost nightly, and Mrs.
Bleeker accomplished a great deal more sewing
before tea, than she did afterwards.
" No, it's a lady in a cloak and hood," said
Oily, turning back to the window. " Why, if
it isn't aunt Lucy ! ' and she ran into the hall,
to open the door herself for this favorite and
fascinating aunt, her mother's only sister.
Aunt Lucy kissed Olive for her attentions,
and throwing off her satin lined hood, went into
the back parlor. It was only an opera cloak
that she wore, after all, of white cashmere, trim-
med with swan's down, and very becoming to
her fair round arms and throat. Her hair was
elegantly dressed, with a garland of moss roses,
BO like nature, that the inexperienced Olive was
164 OUT OF DEBT,
completely deceived, and wondered where they
could have grown at this season of the year.
Broad hoops of gold clasped her snow-white
gloves at the wrist, and a faint breath of per-
fume, so faint as to be enjoyed with scarcely
noticing it, was wafted from the tiny embroidered
handkerchief she held so daintily. Olive walked
around her ample flounces admiringly, and
thought that aunt Lucy was a great deal pret-
tier than a picture, as she wondered that her
mother never went to the Opera, or wore even-
ing dresses now. The very thing that " Aunt
Lucy/' Mrs. Hamilton, was saying.
" And where do you keep yourself, Kate ? I
don't know how many people have asked me if
you have entirely given up society/'
" I should scarcely think they would ask,
when they know what a nursery full I have," said
Mrs. Bleeker, warding off the direct attack upon
her conduct and intentions.
" Well, come this once I know you are
asked," urged Mrs. Hamilton; " it's not too late
to dress, now ; I came around early on purpose.
Come, now ! '
Olive looked up from an inspection of the
carving on her aunt's inlaid fan, and wondered
OUT OF DANGER. 165
what she called late. Their clock said, quarter
of nine, and nine was her very latest bed-time.
" I have nothing to wear, to begin with,"
said her mother.
" Oh yes, you have/' interrupted Mrs.
Hamilton, " that silk you wore on New- Year's.
Henry said it was very becoming, and your
Honiton cape, then your India scarf around
your shoulders, and there you are/'
"No, here I am, and here I intend to stay,
Lucy." There was playfulness and firmness
both in Mrs. Bleeker's tone. " Besides, I have
never worn the scarf, I do not consider that it
is mine ! '
" Not yours ! why, who in the world does it
belong to ? '
" I think it's about bed-time, Oily," said
Mrs. Bleeker, instead of answering her ; and
Olive, who had taken supper with the children at
dark, laid down the fan, very unwillingly, it must
be owned, and looked her last on aunt Lucy, and
her fascinating toilette.
" Who does it belong to ? ' resumed Mrs.
Hamilton, when the door had closed upon the .
" To Mr. Bleeker's creditors," said her sister,
quietly taking up her sewing.
166 OUT OF DEBT,
"What in the world are you thinking of,
Kate ? " said Mrs. Hamilton, with a look of
alarm, " Kichard hasn't failed/'
" No. I only wish he had/'
" Wish he had ! why, you are crazy ! you
don't know what you are talking about ! '
" Yes, I do, perfectly well. Nothing would
be expected of us then, and there would be the
end of this perpetual worry."
" Oh," said Mrs. Hamilton, much relieved,
" haven't you got used to it yet ? I never
mind Henry more than the wind, when he says
he can't afford things. I only say I must have
it, and there's the end of it. He frets and
fusses, but la, child, all men do, he gets over it,"
" Mr. Bleeker i fusses' the other way, because
I won't go out, and won't get things ; but how
can I, when I don't know they will ever be paid
for. No, I cannot do it, Lucy, any more than I
"Every body else does," said Mrs. Hamilton,
disliking the implied rebuke to her opinions.
" We are no worse than our neighbors. It's all
grandmother, and uncle Peter."
" I wish I was back there now, children
and all, indeed, I do, Lucy ; you need not look
IT T OF DANGER. 167
"Every one to their liking," and Mrs.
Hamilton shrugged her white shoulders, from
which the light cloak had fallen. " I would not
go back for all New York, nothing could tempt
me ! The very thought of such a humdrum,
old-fashioned, countrified, hard-working exist-
ence, makes me sick ! Uncle Peter, too."
" We owe every thing to him," said Mrs.
Bleeker warmly, " and Lucy, I do wisli you
would write once in a while. I had a letter this
morning, and I know he feels hurt."
" Oh, I never have a minute ; and besides, I
don't like to be reminded of the time I could
e eat without silver forks,' as Cornelia Holbrooke
"I'd rather eat with steel ones and know
they belonged to me ! I'm sick I'm worn out
with this bondage of keeping up appearances."
" Half New York are keeping you com-
pany," said Mrs. Hamilton provokingly, "and
half the world besides. Don't worry about your
husband's business affairs, for mercy sake, Kate !
I don't ; I should have a nice time of it if I
did ! "
" Here he comes now ! '
Mr. Bleeker had let himself in with a dead
latch key, and came in with a compliment to
168 OUT OF DEBT,
Mrs. Hamilton, whom he admired greatly ; but
for all the smile and bantering, there was a
worn, harassed look in every line of his face,
and a cloud settled down over it as he returned
to the parlor, after seeing her into the carriage.
It was not moroseness, or fretfulness, only
gloom, and despondency, harder still for his wife
" What was Lucy rattling on about, when I
came in ? " he said presently, trying to shake off
this mood. " No, never mind pouring me any
tea ; I don't want any thing ; I could not eat
any thing to-night."
" Dear Richard, how is all this to end ? '
Mrs. Bleeker said, suddenly rising and coming to
"I wish I knew,'' he answered with a groan.
" My hands are tied whichever way I turn. I
wish you'd go out more, Kate. Why not have
gone with Lucy to-night ? people begin to
think strange of it, she says."
"I don't care, we can't go without incurring
obligations we cannot afford to return ; that's
one thing then I do not feel easy about the
children. I believe honestly I have lost all
taste for what we call society. But Richard,
why do you live so why not settle up at once,
OUT OF DANGEB. 169
and pay off what you can, arid begin again ?
other people do ! '
" You don't know what you are talking
about/' said Mr. Bleeker, hastily. " I can keep
along, somehow, but I could not begin to pay
off every thing."
" Well, why not divide what you have, and
pay the rest when you can ; surely that would
be better than this wearing, harassed life.
Brooks has sent in his bill again to-day ,^,nd St.
Legers' came last week, though I could not bear
to tell you of it, and "
" Yes, I knew, and forty more. All very
well, Kate, but you and the children must live ;
and if I give up all, what am I to do ? '
" I wish you had been brought up in the
country ! "
"What has that got to do with it ? Yes,
so do I ; I should not have had such expensive
habits. I did want to go on a farm, when I
was a boy, I always thought I should like it,
but father would not listen to it."
" Why not try it yet ? ' said his wife, with
a sudden light coming into her eyes.
" I'm too old to begin experimenting and
new land takes capital. I've thought it all
over," and Mr. Bleeker shook his head. " I
170 OUT OF DEBT,
couldn't bear corning clown in the world, you
could not, all our friends would be mortified.
It sounds very well in story books, I know.
People move out West, and make their fortunes
in four years, and come back to astonish every
body ! But it is not so in real life. A failure
is disgraceful, the best way you can fix it."
" Surely, nothing can be more disgraceful
than debt ! 3 interrupted Mrs. Bleeker.
"Owning up to debt ! that's it- -it's the
poverty, and not the dishonesty that people cry
out about, and cut you for ! I know all about
these fine Western stories. I've seen log houses,
and eaten corn bread, and fried pork ; you
could not. live on it and I don't want you and
the children down with fever and ague."
" Have you the least idea how you stand ? '
" Not the slightest ! I have not gone over
things thoroughly for three years. I have not
dared to ! '
c Oh, if you only could pay off all ! ' said
Mrs. Bleeker, energetically.
" I should have to sacrifice every thing, and
perhaps not do it then. What would I have to
start on ? farming takes capital, as well as any
thing else ! No, no, if I can't swim, I must
OUT OF D A N G E it . 1*71
"Dear Richard/' said Mrs: Bleeker again,
" I know it's hard ; but you need not experiment
or take new land. There's the old farm ; uncle
Peter would be thankful to have us come, he says
so he's getting old, but there would be his expe-
rience. He says in his very last letter, that he
wishes I was a man, and he could feel the old
place would be left in my hands. Bead it " and
she drew the letter from her work table, and sat
watching his face eagerly as he studied over the
stiff, cramped hand, conveying so much love and
kindness to his adopted child.
But for all, Mr. Bleeker acknowledged that
it was very kind, and to be sure she deserved
the farm twice as much as Lucy ; the thing was
perfectly impossible in his opinion.
Mrs. Bleeker did not despair. It was the
first clue that she had found conducting from
this labyrinth of difficulties, and she would not
easily let it go. When she went up to bid her
little ones a final good night, and see that the
baby was covered, she sat down on the foot of
Peter's bed, with a little shoe that she had
stumbled over in her hand, and thought it all
over a r v iin. But the picture was almost too
brigho for one who had lived in the shade so long ;
these little sleepers rolling about in the soft
172 OUT OK i> K r. 'i 1 ,
velvety grass of the lawn, before the farm-house ;
growing strong and vigorous in the freedom-,
and fresh air ; her husband with this weary
weight lifted from his spirits, frolicking with the
baby, as he had not done since Josephine occu-
pied the well-worn cradle ; her own mind calm,
serene, and tranquil, in the round of daily duties
and simple pleasures.
" Oh, if he could only understand how wil-
lingly I would go/' she said to herself, stooping
down to kiss the flushed face of the little
sleeper ; and then seized by a sudden impulse,
she knelt down to pray, while her hands were
knit together in an intense, and it seemed almost
But for a time there was onlv a confused re-
bellious struggling against her present trials,
and a miserable retrospect of the past. " If it was
God's will if I could but feel it was God's will !
I would try to be patient, try to bear it ! All
these weary years all this dreary future ! and
my children to grow up with the same fault, to
suffer the same punishment. Oh, I cannot I
cannot bear it ! '
Then came a remembrance of the blessings
mingled in this bitter cup, her faith in her
husband's love, and real tenderness for her ; the
OUT OF DANGEK. 173
very wish to indulge and please her, leading him
on in his careless expenditure, her children all
remaining, the little band unbroken, when so
many a mother grieved over an empty cradle, or
a new-made grave, this, then, was her cross,
this continual annoyance and petty mortification,
this thwarting of her wishes, this breaking in on
habits of order, and regularity, and honesty, that
had become a second nature, in the strict train-
ing of her children, what was it, but that daily
denial of wishes and of iuill y without which, self
is never conquered.
And when the prayer was uttered at last, it
was for submission, and strength, and patience
to bear the cross, not to have it removed.
174 O U T O F 1) E 15 T ,
NEWS FROM HOME.
" Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit befora a fall."
THE first soft, languid days of early spring
began to brighten up the sombre pine woods at
Rockville, where the school-girls sought for the
earliest flowers, and brushed the fallen leaves
away for the glossy wintergreen, and its scarlet
Their walks were far more invigorating than
the dull round of fifteen blocks, which the
boarders at a fashionable city school accom-
plished, as they do their lessons, because it is
one of the rules, and with a very faint idea
that exercise is intended to stimulate the lan-
guid pulse, and brighten the brain, over- wearied
by problems and propositions, and unending
OlTT OF DANGER. 175
Here, in the seclusion of village life, a walk
was a very different matter. It was not con-
sidered necessary for the older girls to be ac-
companied by a teacher, and instead of the pro-
cession, " tall at the top," and shortened, as
the ages of the demure couples lessen, they
went out by twos and threes, choosing their
companions, and their route. Josephine's class
had been allowed this liberty of late, and " a
walk," with them, was an affair of moment,
arranged two or three days beforehand, the
projectors settling who should go, and who
" would be in the way." To be sure, heart-
burnings and jealousies would grow out of it,
and some declared, " they wouldn't go if they
had been asked," who did not mean what
they said while others tossed their heads,
and " thanked fortune they were as good as
any body, if some people did not think so."
A little knot of the unasked had gathered
themselves together, and were walking up and
down th,c playground, with their arms around
each pther, on this particular afternoon. There
was the yoimgest, Miss Dana, though the oldest
;irl in her class, very dull and behindhand with
har lessons, she was a sparkling, bright-eyed girl ;
Angelique Tona, a Cuban by birth, though she
176 OUT OF DEBT,
had not seen Havana the last five years, who
made more mischief with her busy tongue, than
any other two girls in school put together ;
Ada Thomas, a cross, sullen, sickly child, a
Southerner, who had never " put on her own
stockings, or hemmed a handkerchief," as slic
often complained to the others, before she came
North, where she had to do every thing for
herself, and well it was for her that she was
obliged to ; Eliza and Eowana Gourlay, two
of the party, came from a neighboring town,
and were remarkable for nothing in particular,
but being careless, and negligent, and curious,
-the fault of early training from children,-
but they were not the less disagreeable for that.
Angelique was not remarkable for her con-
stancy to either party. Now she was Agnes
Hadly's devoted confidant, and then she would
go over to the enemy for the sake of being made
much of, and extracting sufficient material to
carry the war into Josephine's set again.
She usually sided with the person she was
talking to, but quarrelled on the slightest pre-
text, and often without any pretext at all.
Just now she was " out '- with Clementina and
Josephine, consequently she was warmly wel-
comed by the others. If Clementina had been
OUT OF DANGER. 177
as clever as Josephine, in addition to her hand-
some wardrobe, and pretty face, she would have
been the oracle of her party ; but her room-
mate, with just as much beauty, more style,
and twice the intelligence, generally had an
uncontested leadership ; consequently, the un-
graciousness of their opponents was especially
directed towards her.
" What the fourth-year girls see in that
stuck-up Josephine Bleeker, I can't tell, for
my part/' said the awkward Harriet Dana.
" Why, I'm a head taller, and they never ask
me into their rooms."
" But then there's so little in your head,
when you get to it," Angelique wished very
much to say, but it would not have been
polite, just then, so she contented herself with
adding, " I don't see ! '
"My father is twice as rich as hers, any
day," said Ada Thomas, fretfully. " He could
buy half Georgia, if he liked. I don't believe
they even keep a carriage, and we have a coach-
man and three waiter-boys, Ma has seventeen
servants on the lot ! ' and " Ma's ' daughter
looked as if that fact alone should entitle her
to the highest consideration.
" I guess they're poor and proud, for my *
178 O LI T OF D K 15 T ,
part," said one of the Gourlays. "She's the
vainest girl / ever saw. Her compositions
aint so wonderful, after all," just then the
pedestrians came in sight, at some distance, it
is true, on the top of " Sugar Camp," a neigh-
Josephine, in their midst, was talking rapidly
and loud ; she was in the highest spirits, and on
the best of terms with herself. She sometimes
wondered how she could have been so miserable
such a little while ago, now that it was so hap-
pily over with. Miss Anthon had purchased the
overshoes, and charged them in her school bill ;
Marianne never mentioned the ring, and seemed
entirely to forget the occurrence ; and though Tom
had not yet returned the loan, Josephine had
made her pencils last wonderfully, and found it
was possible to mend her gloves. She loved
Tom dearly, with all their sparring when to-
gether, and felt so sorry that he was worried,
that she gradually gave up all thoughts of the
bracelet ; and as forr eplacing the ring, she had
a hundred plans for getting the money, the latest
of all was, sending two of her best "poems" to
a magazine publisher, with undefined visions of
possible sums that she was to receive in return.
" It was almost time to hear from Philadelphia,"
OUT OF DANGER. 179
she whispered to Clem, who was in the secret, as
the stage with the great leathern mail bag under
the driver's feet rolled by them ; and her color
mounted higher, and her laugh grew louder at
If the worst came to the worst, she could
take the five dollars for the next term, and buy
another ring with that ; she had a feeling of
mortification at not being able to replace it at
once, more from, wondering what Marianne
thought of it, and whether she would think her
father was too poor to give her the money ; and
she had various other occasional annoyances at
being penniless, that her brother's " generosity '
had occasioned her. But in the main, she ad-
mired herself very much, and certainly did
"take airs' ; enough to deserve some of the
severe remarks that were just then being made
" Are you coming back next term ? ' asked
Agnes Hadly, who hated school, and was very
much in hopes that she should not.
" Oh, of course ! ' answered Josephine, with
one of those very airs, "I am to go through
regularly, and then have a year's finishing les-
" I mean to tease Ma into letting me have
180 OUT OF DEBT,
Belletti," said Clementina. " He's so fashion-
able, all the girls in Brooklyn have him, he
comes over twice a week."
"My!" said Agnes Hadly, "he asks forty
dollars a quarter."
" I don't care if he asks sixty," said Miss
Jones, with a toss.
" No, nor I ? ' said Josephine, " I mean to
have him, too."
" I wish my father was rich/' sighed Agnes,
who was a great deal too honest and out-spoken
to please her sister. Ellen was continually
checking some of her revelations.
" Shouldn't you hate to have to sweep and
dust and make your own bed, always, as we have
to at school ? " said Clem, falling behind a little,
and adding in a lower voice, " It must be horrid
to be poor ! '
" Oh, that's nothing to dragging about with
the children," said Agnes, not at all offended.
" Only I'd rather do that even than to have to
study, they're so cross and heavy, and you never
have a minute to yourself. As soon as one
hushes, another begins. Ellen never would touch
the children. She had to sew, though."
" I wouldn't sew for any body," said Clem,
OUT OF DANGER. 181
who hated to touch her needle, except for fancy
" Nor I," said Josephine. " You don't say
you make your own underclothes ! '
" Mother says/' and Agnes did bridle up a
little " mother says every woman ought to
know how to sew, no matter how rich she is !
and there are a great many worse things than
Josephine had heard her own mother say the
same many a time ; and Olive, who had been
more with her mother, was already an accom-
plished little seamstress.
" Miss Fanshaw makes her own clothes, all
but her dresses," suggested some one.
" I don't believe they're so very wealthy/'
said Clem, "after all. She dresses as common
" She does riot have to, though," broke in
Josephine, eager to uphold her friend, " to my
certain knowledge. Marianne says, she doesn't
think it is right to spend so much in clothes/'
" I'd rather be poor than mean," Agnes said,
a little spitefully, for she was jealous of Jose-
phine's intimacy with one of the fourth-year
182 OUT OF DEBT,
" She's not in the least mean, Agnes Had-
" Oh, well ! ' said Agnes, " don't take my
head off ; you're spilling all your moss and berries,
swinging your basket so hard. There comes
Ellen from the post-office, I wonder if there's
any thing for me."
Ellen kept them at arm's length, until they
reached the Seminary, when Angelique and her
malcontents closed around her too. Letters
from home were common cause, and all petty
quarrels were for the time overlooked.
" Who bids ? ' said Ellen, holding the large
packet of letters and newspapers high above her
head. Was there ever any thing more tantali-
zing than to see those white and yellow envel-
opes, those nicely wrapped newspapers, and not
to know who they belonged to !
" There must be one for me," fretted Ada
Thomas. " I wish you wouldn't be hateful,
" That's a good way to be helped first, but
you may make yourself easy, there isn't any.
Here, Angelique, here's a paper for you, that's
all. Dana, there's three Danas," said Ellen,
shuffling the letters at last, like an accomplished
post-office clerk. " Pocket money, Clem ? "
OUT OF DANG E II . 183
and a suspiciously thick envelope fell to Miss
Jones. " Fanshaw, Anthon, Anthon, Fanshaw
again, Clark, Brown, Adams ; why, Joe, I thought
I had something for you. Yes, here it is, the
very last one."
" Oh," said Josephine, eagerly, thinking for
a moment the looked-for decision had arrived.
" Where's it from ? who is yours from, Clem ? '
Clementina, absorbed in her own epistle, did
not answer or even look up again until she saw
Josephine start up from the piazza stairs, where
several of them sat down, too impatient for the
news to go any further, and rush away to their
" What's the matter ? where's Joe gone? '
she asked Agnes.
" Why, it was so funny did you see her,
Ada ? well, she read about three lines, and
then looked down to the bottom of the page,
and then she just started up. My ! such a face !
as if she had as much as she could do to keep
from crying, and ran off as hard as she could."
" Dear me ; I hope nobody's sick Olive,
or any of them," said Clem, familiar Avith the
" Or dead," suggested Agnes, consolingly.
" I must go right away and see ; ' so leav-
184 U T F D E Ii T ,
ing a murmur, of wondering and guessing all
sorts of probable calamities behind, Clementina
followed her friend.
The door was bolted on the inside.
" Joe let me in ; it's only me/' shouted
Clementina, through the key-hole.
" Oh, oh, oh dear, what shall I do ! " sobbed
Josephine's voice, instead of a reply.
" What is the matter? do open the door,
dear, dear Joe it's Clementina ; for pity's sake,
what's the matter ? '
Thus adjured, Josephine unfastened the
bolt, revealing her tear-swollen face, and dis-
ordered hair, for a moment, before she threw
herself headlong on the floor again, as she was
very apt to do, when any thing worried her,
and cried afresh.
" What is it ? " besought Clementina, decid-
ing rapidly that not only Olive, but Peter and
Kate must be dead, probably of scarlet fever.
" Or is it the poem ? I wouldn't care I'm sure
I wouldn't care for that, dear ; we all know how
sweetly you do write, if all the ugly old editors
in the world-
" Oh ! it isn't that. Oh, Clementina
father lias failed! '
Clementina was silenced by this unexpected
OUT OF DANGER. 185
blow. With Josephine, she regarded such a
calamity beyond all consolation, so she sat down
and cried too ; while Angelique, who had fol-
lowed up-stairs, and stood by the window, flew
away to spread the disagreeable intelligence.
" What will you do ? " sobbed Miss Jones.
" Oh, I don't know ! " sobbed Miss Bleeker,
back again. " I never can hold ray head up ;
don't cry, Clementina."
" I can't help it ; oh, Joe ! ' and she
squeezed Josephine's hand in real true-hearted
" Every thing is going to be sold off the
piano and all and father's going going-
going off to live with Uncle Peter, way out of
the world ! ;
" You, poor child, you dear, dear, dear ! '
cried Clementina, rocking herself backwards
and forwards. " You shan't go, not one step
you shall live with us always ! '
Kather a rash promise for a girl of twelve
to make, but Clementina was very sincere in
her offer, and it comforted Josephine for a time.
" Only think," said she, sitting up and drying
her eyes, " way off in the woods, dear knows
where. On a farm ! "
186 OUT OF DEBT,
"Horrors!'' returned Clem. "Are they
going right away 1 '
" They've (/one, actually gone ! by this
time ; and Tom and I are to finish our term,
and not come hack again. Poor Tom ! he hates
the country just as I do. I think father and
mother must he crazy, don't you ? '
" I wouldn't mind it a hit, if I was you ; '
and then, by way of setting a brave example,
Clementina burst into tears again herself. " I
will write to ma, there, to-night, to ask you to
spend the summer, at the very least. Of course
they'll come to the city every winter."
" I don't know," said Josephine, doubtfully.
" It's a dreadful place, Clementina ; I was
there once, a great many years ago, when I was
a little girl. And Uncle Peter's such a horrid
old man, and smokes a pipe, and uses a red
silk handkerchief ! ' At which climax the for-
titude of the moment gave way again, and not
even Clementina's bravest arguments could
check the tide, until Josephine had cried her-
self into a sick headache. Every time the bell
rans:, she was sure Tom had come to talk over
the dreadful disgrace with her ; but, as usual,
when he was expected, no Torn came. Jose-
phine had a very indistinct idea of what a
OUT OF DANGER. 187
failure was. She knew that it was considered
a great mortification, and that people would
call her father "poor Bleeker," and shake their
heads, as she had seen him do over others. She
pictured to herself the auction, and her mother
and the children crying, and her father in one
of -those terribly cross moods, which they all
dreaded so. And she would have to sew, and
help Oily take care of the- children for Mrs.
Bleeker said that only Susan, the cook, was
going with them into the country. There was
no comfort whichever way she turned, but in
Clementina's proposal that she should go home
with her, and she did not believe her mother
would consent to that.
Great was the commotion all over the school,
and some pitied Josephine, while others said it
" served her right/' and were curious to see
how she would conduct herself under her altered
fortunes. Miss Fanshaw sat with her all the
next morning, and bathed her head, and talked
with her, as Miss Fanshaw always talked, kindly
and sensibly. She had heard of Mr. Bleeker's
failure through Miss Anthon, to whom he had
written about Josephine some days before, and
from her own father, who said it was a very
honorable thing, and every one was paid almost
188 OUT OF DEBT.
in full ; that Mr. Bleeker had given up every
thing, and behaved so well, that his creditors
wished to make some arrangement for him to
go on again, but he had made up his mind not
to do so !
Josephine, who had listened eagerly thus
far, turned away her head, and said, crossly,
" that she wished he had gone on, and she
hated the country, and meant to stay with
Clementina as long as she could."
" Not if your mother needs you/' said
Marianne ; but Josephine did not wish to dis-
cuss the matter.
Clementina certainly behaved very well,
considering how much she thought of wealth
and fashion ; and in due course of time, the
promised invitation was received from Mrs.
Jones, who said that she had written to Mrs.
Bleeker about it ; but before then, a fresh
trouble awaited Josephine, if possible, more un-
locked for, and harder to bear.
We might as well acknowledge, first as last,
that from the Philadephia publisher, no answer
ever came ; he having too much to attend to,
to be able to make each " rejected address '
the subject of a separate letter.
OUT OF DANGER. 189
" A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of
his mother." PROVERBS.
TOM was gone. He had found himself so in-
volved in debt and disgrace, that he had taken
the coward's way out of difficulties and fled from
Yet, so strangely "blind was he, to the real
truth of the case, that he imagined he was doing
a very daring and clever thing, when he made
up a bundle of things he considered necessary,
and leaving a letter in a conspicuous place on
the mantle in his room, he had let himself out
of the Brick an hour before daylight, with his
bundle hung on the end of a cane he had once
gloried in possessing, and trudged off on foot
like a runaway apprentice.
" The world was all before him, where to
choose," and tossing up a penny to decide which
190 OUT OF DEBT,
road to take, he stepped along rather fast, until
he considered himself safe from the ignominy of
being discovered and brought back again to a
public reprimand. That would be a very dull
termination to the adventure, though he might
well be thankful if nothing worse befell him.
" I wonder what father will think now ! ' ' he
said to himself, after the first excitement of the
escape was over, and he slackened his pace a
The immediate cause of his departure was
the receipt of a letter from his father, to whom
he had at last written for a remittance, shaded
on by Charlie Spear's repeated dunning, and a
threat from Kelly that their bill should be sent
to head-quarters if they did not settle up. The
upholsterer's account for carpet and curtains had
also come in, and was of course twice as much
as they expected it to be, while several who had
subscribed at first to refurnishing to use Frank
Flander's inelegant but forcible expression had
"backed out." The boys slighted him, now
that he no longer had ready money, and Charlie
Spear, suspecting something of the truth in the
matter of the allowance, was particularly insult-
ing. Even Joe Ferris, whom he had obliged
again and again, gave many a sly thrust and
OUT OF DANGER. 191
taunt on the play ground, or recitation room,
where he put on twice as much braggadocia as
ever, in a flimsy attempt to cover his secret dis-
As for the real object of his being at Kock-
ville, he had gone backwards, rather than
advanced, in his studies and general deportment
the present term. An uneasy conscience, a
restless mind full of useless expedients, and ir-
ritable suspicions, were bad assistants for the
fulfilment of duties, for this life, or the higher ob-
ligation of preparation for another. Tom tried
to leave the last out of his meditations alto-
gether, and succeeded almost entirely ; he could
not have dwelt upon it seriously, and persisted
in such a course.
He found himself stooping to petty mean-
ness and deception he would once have despised,
such as his conduct to Josephine, which even
her generous forbearance did not make him for-
get. She welcomed him, with the same fond-
Bess and pride, as soon as her own troubles were
cleared up, and laughed as heartily at his jokes,
and nonsense, or bore his boyish fault-finding
with wonderful patience and humility.
" Poor Joe, when I come back a rich man,
I'll bring her the most elegant bracelet that ever
192 O U T OF D E B T ,
was seen, see if I don't/' said oar young travel-
ler, as he caught the last glimpse of the Sem-
inary "buildings, and never thinking of the anxiety
and mortification the discovery of his flight
would he to her. As for his father's failure, he
knew nothing ahout it; that same day's mail
would bring the letter explaining the harshness
and bitterness, as he called it, the answer his ap-
plication for money had contained. It arrived
just in the midst of Mr, Bleeker's perplexities,
when lie was making up his mind to follow his
wife's advice, and give up all to his creditors.
He could trace in Tom's half confession an in-
dulgence of the same fault that had commenced
with himself quite as early, and had brought
him to this pass reckless generosity, careless
self-indulgence, openness to flattery, and a dread
So forgetting what his own example and in-
fluence had been, " that the sins of the fathers
were visited upon the children," he wrote an
angry rebuke and denial on the impulse of the
It had the effect that such ill-judged correc-
tions usually have. Tom might have been soft-
ened by a cooler and more dignified sentence, or
if the letter had expressed any desire to receive
O IT T OF DANGER. 193
the confidence lie was longing to give to some
one, and surety a father is the friend one would
naturally seek at such a time. If he wrote to
his mother, it would be all the same he thought.
" No ! he would not stoop to sue for help and
pardon again ! He would look out for himself;
he could show them that there was more in him
than they thought there was ! They would be
glad enough to see him when he came back
again, rolling in wealth, to pay off every thing ! '
For Tom, who had never even earned his
pocket money as many boys do, had very grand
but indistinct ideas of " the battle of life," and
so he started in it literally a foot soldier.
" A slice of bread and cheese wouldn't be
hard to take ! ' he was obliged to confess to
himself, when he had walked about three miles,
and imagined it was ten at least ; " or a cup of
old Mother Allen's coffee ! Isn't there a pre-
cious row about this time. Old Peter carrying
my note to the desk, and the Professor forward-
ing it to the Governor, and he post-hasting it to
Rockville. I guess he'll wish he had ponied up
handsomely. I hope mother won't take it hard;
mother's right up and down, but she never flies
out at a fellow, and calls him names/' there was
a little faltering in the cheery whistle that
194 OUT OF DEBT,
Master Tom tried to keep up, trudging inde-
pendently along, as he thought of his mother's
anxiety, and the true, unwavering love and kind-
ness he had always received from her. He re-
solved to let her hear from him, the first one, at
The spirit of adventure sustained him
tolerably well, all through that day. He
passed through Franklin before nightfall, so
that he knew he was fourteen miles away. He
had fared sumptuously on crackers and a red
herring, bought with one of the very few pieces
of silver remaining to him ; and concluded to
take up his quarters at a dilapidated roadside
tavern, for which he paid away another. Tom
was naturally extremely fastidious, the sheets
were not remarkably clean, or wide, the patch-
work quilt and musty feather bed, suggested
his own room at home, with its neat furniture
and white counterpane, rather more forcibly
than was agreeable, considering he had turned
his back upon it for ever. He could not get
the window up to air the room for a long time,
and when once up, it obstinately refused to
come down again ; and he felt chilled, and stiff
with his journey, when he rose the next morn-
ing. But what are hardships, when one has
OUT OF DANGER. 195
set out to seek one's fortune ! Tom made his
toilette in a tin wash-basin, with brown soap,
and a great deal of becoming fortitude, "but
he did think the fried salt pork would have
tasted better if he had not seen it cooked by
such a slatternly-looking woman, who, he was
sure, had not combed her hair that morning,
or made any ablutions at all !
Josephine, made sick at heart by this new
calamity, for she had been obliged to undergo
the mortification of a close examination from
Professor Phelps, before Miss Anthon, was
almost frantic with anxiety to know what had
befallen her favorite brother. She pictured
him to herself, in the very extreme of want
and starvation, wandering alone over a dreary
road, in the dread darkness of the night, tor-
turing himself with remorseful fancies, and
tempted to some terrible rashness, beyond
even her imagination.
He had not gone home, that his note dis-
tinctly stated ; adding, in the language com-
mon to juvenile defaulters, that " pursuit would
be of no avail/' He might have made himself
easy on that score. Professor Phelps had no
idea of sending after him. Tom had been in
disgrace too often, to make this last step very
196 OUT OF DEBT,
astonishing in the Principal's eyes, and would
have been very much disappointed if he had
been there to have witnessed the effect of his
Professor Phelps did what he considered his
duty ; made a rigorous examination of Tom's
chief comrades, of his sister, and his affairs,
and forwarded the result to Mr. Bleeker, en-
closing all bills and obligations, and declining
to receive his son again, when he was found.
In other words, Tom ivas expelled^ dis-
gracefully and unconditionally; and, as is usual,
the innocent, and not the guilty, bore the shame
and odium of his conduct. Josephine, like her
mother, keenly sensitive to honor and honesty,
felt that it would be impossible ever to see any
one again, and was sure that no one at the
Academy, in the Seminary, or even in New York,
thought of any thing, or talked of any thing
else. She had not been out of her room since
she returned to it from the parlor, after seeing
Professor Phelps ; and neither Marianne's
advice, or Clementina's persuasions, could in-*
duce her to leave her bed for more than a week.
A serious feverish attack was the natural
result of all this worry and fretting, and it was
pleasant to see how the real kindness of every
OUT OF DANGER. 19*7
young girl's heart was called out, by the actual
illness of one of their number. Angelique
produced a box of Guava jelly, the very last
remains of a consignment of sweetmeats from
her aunt in Havana ; Ada Thomas offered to
lend her an elegantly bound copy of " Arabian
Nights/' and even to read it aloud to her, though
every one knew how Ada hated trouble. The
Gourlays stopped making spiteful remarks, and
as for Agnes and Clementina, they could not
have done too much for the invalid.
Miss Anthon, thinking it best to accept
none of these kind offers, gave Josephine in
charge to the two in whom she placed most
confidence, Miss Fanshaw, and Miss Brown ;
the last to Josephine's great annoyance. " Ann
Brown, of all people ! " she said, fretfully, to
Marianne. " She will be thinking herself as
good as I am, now that papa has failed."
" She always has been/' returned Marianne,
determined not to indulge this ungracious humor,
though Josephine was really suffering ; but
Josephine evaded the contact.
" Oh, my head and my limbs ache so,
and rny feet are burning ! please bathe my
forehead, dear Marianne ; was there ever any
198 OUT OF DEBT,
one had so much trouble, or was miserable as I
" There are people all around you, a great
deal worse off," said Miss Fanshaw, quietly,
dipping a napkin in ice-water. " I know it is
very, very hard, just now ; but you may be sure
Tom is safe; a boy of fourteen is quite old
enough to take care of himself, and he will be
glad enough to come back again some day, when
he can appreciate home better.
" That's the very worst part of it " and
the complaining tone showed that Josephine
was determined to be miserable. " We haven't
any home to go to."
" Oh yes, you have, dear, and a very pleasant
one, I should judge from that letter I read for
you yesterday. It must be looking beautifully
now, with the grain springing up so thick and
green in the fields, and the orchards in full
bloom. I hope I shall see it for myself some
" I did want a visit from you, very much,"
said Josephine, drearily, " but now, such a horrid
place, you haven't the least idea, and every
thing sold. But papa will be sure to get sick
of it, that's one comfort."
" I hope not, I'm sure."
OUT OF DANUEK. 199
"Why?" said the invalid, sharply. "I
don't think it's very kind of you, when you know
how I hate it."
" Hush, Josephine," said Marianne. " You
will bring back the fever again ; I do not know as
I ought to let you talk at all ; but I do not
like to hear a little girl set up her own likes and
dislikes against the judgments and the wishes
of her father and mother. You do not think it
shows a very obedient spirit, yourself, do you,
now ? If we all followed our own inclinations,
and had and did exactly what we wanted, why,
only think, what a nice time every one would
have it ! what a world of misrule it would
" But mother said I might go to Clemen-
tine's, if I wanted to," said Josephine, thinking
Marianne very prosy, and that she did not love
her half as well as she used to.
u I wish you would let me see just what she
says ; have you any objections ? ' asked Mari-
anne, after a little pause. Josephine had told
her this before, and the consent did not seem
like what she had always heard of Mrs. Bleeker.
Miss Fanshaw did not think she was acting with
her usual good judgment.
But Mrs. Bleeker, when seated at her desk,
200 OUT OF DEBT,
to decline the polite invitation of Mrs. Jones,
had altered her decision. She was grieved that
Josephine could wish to be away from her when
there was so much to be done, and when she
might make herself so useful. She saw with a
mother's keen insight, with a disposition that
had been a life-long study, that Josephine
shrank from their altered circumstances, from
trouble, and work, and self-denial in any shape,
and wished to put off the evil day as far as
With such feelings, she could never be happy
in their new home, and looking forward to the
probable result, Mrs. Bleeker hazarded the
trial. She did not visit Mrs. Jones ; she knew
her to be wealthy and worldly, but there was
nothing positively objectionable in the acquaint-
ance. So she had written that Josephine must
decide for herself, and at the same time, plainly
told her that she could not expect a new spring
outfit, situated as they were, or any allowance.
" In the country you could do with what you
have/' wrote Mrs. Bleeker. "Oily will be
obliged to ; and whercever you are, you must
do the same. Oily is a dear girl, and of the
greatest assistance and comfort to me now. I
should scarcely know what to do without her."
OUT OF DANGER. 201
It was Josephine's true place, as the eldest
daughter, that Olive had taken, and she could
not help feeling it, when Marianne read this last
paragraph aloud, with a peculiar emphasis,
which showed she thought so too. But Jose-
phine would not listen to the inner or the out-
ward monitor. She would like well enough to
be praised as her mother's comforter, but then,
dragging with the children, and spoiling her
small soft hands with housework ; no, no, she
hated the country more than ever ; and Cle-
mentina was a dear sweet girl, and Mrs. Jones
the most amiable of women to ask her ! She
thought Marianne was very stiff and disagree-
able lately, preaching " duty " and " the right '
all the time, when she was sick, and in so much
trouble ; and she did not know, after all, but
she would rather have Ann sit there, who never
pretended to lecture her, and minded her books,
and her own affairs.
202 OUT OF DEBT,
CASTLES IN THE AIR
" Turn again, "Whittington ! Lord Mayor of London ! "
WHEN boys run away from home, in story
books, they usually intend going to sea. For a
wonder, this was not Tom's idea. He was
something like Josephine in his dislike of hard
work ; and besides, to go to sea he would have to
get to New York in the first place, and so be
likely to be discovered by his father, who was
the last person he was anxious to encounter.
There was another important consideration.
Tom wanted to be rich, as well as the master of
his own actions, and boys who went to sea never
came home rich. They returned very much
grown, and browned, and brought quantities of
parrots, and shells, and sandal-wood fans ; but
he could not recollect that they had a great deal
of ready money about them. " Cats r ' were no
longer a good investment for the South Sea
OUT OF DANGER. 203
Islands, as they were in Whittington's day, and
he had lost the firm faith he once had in the
pearl and diamond valleys of Sinbad.
He had nothing to do but make plans as he
walked along. Meanwhile, it was very trying to
one who was an Astor already in imagination,
to have to eat bread without even a herring ; he
was reduced to this extremity on the afternoon
of the third day, and to sleep in a barn, as he
should probably have to do, for the sum of his
earthly possessions was exactly two cents, which
jingled drearily in his pocket, as if they wanted
company. It was a small basis for the magni-
ficent fortune that still occupied his thoughts.
" I don't care ! ' said Tom, doggedly, " I
won't go back, that's certain, and any clever
fellow'' (" like me," of course, he meant) " can
make his own way, when he once gets started.
Why, New- Year's day didn't I go with father
to that great, monstrous house in Lexington
Avenue, with a marble pavement in the hall,
and stained glass, and pictures and mirrors, no
end to them ; and the lady, Mrs. Colton, with
diamonds on, and the table all covered with silver,
and didn't father tell me, when we came out,
that Mr. Colton had just two and threepence in
204 OUT OF DEBT,
his pocket, when he came into New York a
poor boy ! '
But Tom, dwelling on results, forgot that
Mr. Colton had been trained in the harsh
school of poverty and toil, that he was willing
to commence life in the humblest capacity, and
sweep out the floors, and sleep under the counter
of the warehouse he afterwards owned, laying
aside two cents out of every three he earned,
and so building up his future on the firm foun-
dation of industry, and economy, and self-
" Why, John Jacob Astor himself, was a
poor boy, and so was Abbot Lawrence, and
Daniel Webster/' and visions of political dis-
tinction now mingled with Tom's more mercenary
schemes. " What would they say, if I should
get to be a Member of Congress, and no thanks
to any of them ! but then mother should know
where I was, all the time, because she would
worry, only I'd make her promise not to tell
father. Then, when I was on my way to Wash-
ington, I'd stop and pay them a visit, and for-
give father !" (magnanimous Tom !) "and give
Joe and Peter every thing they want ! Yes,
the West is the place for me ! Buffalo isn't
quite far enough, they might hear of me there ;
OUT OF DANGER. 205
I'll go to Chicago; Mr. Lane, who dined with
papa last vacation, had a great deal to say about
it. I wonder if he wouldn't give a fellow a start,
now ! Of course, I would not let him know
who I was, but he could see that I belonged to a
good family, and ask no questions ! '
But in the mean time, the possessor of all
these brilliant air castles would have liked to
know where he was going to sleep that night,
and what he was going to have for his supper.
Out of his thousand and one vague plans,
Tom had finally settled on Mr. Lane, the great
Western land speculator, as his future patron,
and though he longed to begin the world at
once, he must trust to the slow medium of a
canal packet from Albany, in the first instance,
working his passage at that !
" What am I going to do to-night, though,
that's the first thing ? ' He was obliged to come
down to the necessities of the moment, and to
consider that he was on a road he knew nothing
about, already stiff and tired out with his un-
usually protracted walk, and the want of the
nourishing food he had been accustomed to.
He did not like the necessity of asking shelter
for the night. He had had several adventures
alreadv, that were more romantic than agree-
/ * c*
206 OUT OF DEBT,
able ; such as being warned off for a tramp and
a straggler, where he had stopped to inquire
the way ; or being advised to go to work, and
' not be idling round, a great lazy fellow like
him," when he had asked for a drink of butter-
milk at a farm-house, where the woman was
setting her churn and tin pans out in the sun.
It was not heroic, strictly speaking, to run from
a great brute of a house-dog, set fiercely upon
him, but he had done that, and now, as he
tried to persuade himself that there was no bed
like a good bundle of fresh hay, he was obliged
to confess that he was mortally afraid of rats,
in the dark, and barns were generally full of
So far he had had fine weather, unusually
warm for the season, and there was a real plea-
sure in watching the farmers at work in the
fields, and the cattle browsing close to the fences,
or on the sunny slopes of the hills ; he drank in
the sweet-scented spring air at every breath,
and saw the foliage begin to flush the woods,
and the white blossoms of the dog-rose unfold
in some shadowy vista, the fruit trees and the
orchards one beautiful sheet of tinted blossoms ;
the lilacs and the snow-balls budding in the
little door-yards of farm-houses, or village streets.
OUT OF DANGER. 207
The weather, capricious as April always is, had
rapidly changed towards evening. The clouds
gathered chilly and cold overhead, the spring
breeze now swept across the empty fields a bitter
blast ; and a mist -like rain filled the air, pene-
trating every garment, and promising a long-
Tom was on a lonely road, with only a few
farm-houses, of the humblest description, scat-
tered at long intervals. The twilight began to
grow into settled darkness, and so did Tom's
prospects. It was in vain that he buttoned up
his jacket to the throat, turned up his coat col-
lar, and drew his cap down over his eyes. The
storm was pitiless and penetrating, and though
he battled along bravely for a while, there was
not even a barn in sight, as, at last, completely
conquered by cold, hunger, and fatigue, he sat
down on a great stone by the roadside, and
wished himself back again at Rockville, or in
New York, or any where but where he was, and
what he was, homeless and shelterless, without
friends, or money, or food. What remained to
him at that moment of all his courage and
boasting, and cherished' independence, but the
supper of husks of the prodigal son !
How the work of months was done in that
'208 OUT OF DEBT,
miserable half hour, as with head bowed down
on his knees he thought bitterly over his follies,
and forced himself to see the uncertainty and
falseness of his present position. Yet he could
not go back, he had himself shut the door of
home as it were, and by the cheerful light of
pictures that he drew, what he might have been
to them all, a dutiful, respectful son, a loving
brother, an educated, honorable mai>, he ,saw
himself in the future, a wanderer, and an out-
He raised his head at last, but there was
nothing to cheer him in the mist and darkness
his eyes tried in vain to penetrate. An indis-
tinct glimmering of the white road, and the gray
stone wall opposite ; a mass of dark outlines of
the thick wood beyond ; no light, not even the
" little candle " of a farmer's kitchen to guide
him, and the rain changing into a steady, perse-
He caught another sound than the sighing
of the trees, and the rushing of the rain pre-
sently, and his heart gave a great bound, as he
made out the monotonous tramp of horses, toil-
ing slowly along up the hill he had just left be-
hind and now down again faster, and cheered
on by a man's voice and the crack of a whip, as
OUT OF DANGER. 209
they came nearer. He stood up and drew in his
breath, as a shipwrecked man might have done at
t he cry of " a sail," and the man seeing the dark
object by the road-side, called " hullo ! ' in a
rough but not unkindly voice.
He did not seem to care much for the rain ;
why should he, in his thick homespun suit, and
slouched hat that " shed it just like an amber-
ill ?" as he afterwards told Tom. Obediah Wise
had never been in a hurry since he was born, and
did not think it was worth while to begin now
just for "a sprinkle." His horses were like
their driver, neither spare nor stout, but in very
good condition for all that, in their rusty old-
Tom could not see this in the dark, but he
made out that it was a box wagon by its length,
and he would be thankful enough to have a seat
on the load of boards, that clattered every step
the horses took. " Hullo ! whoa, old boy ! '
shouted Obediah again, coming to a full stop.
" Rather bad night, young man, and hard
walking aint it now ? Wamto ride ? ' :
Never was invitation more gladly accepted.
Tom climbed up over the muddy wheel, neither
knowing nor caring for the effect the contact
had on his already defaced clothes, handing the
210 O U T O F D E B T ,
bundle to Obediah, who deliberately drew it
" 'Taint a very heavy load/' he said, critically,
" not much heft, nuther is mine. Maby you'd
better set back on them boards there, and draw
that are old coverlid up, you haint got no great
coat I see, and it's considerable of a sprinkle/'
Tom, who did not know the exact position of
the " old coverlid" which "was tuck along to
kiver up old Bill, who had a stiff knee when he
stood," was assisted by Obediah, who turned
around and leaned back, tucking him in as a
mother would her baby.
" Git up there," he drawled out to his
horses, when satisfied that all was right, and
once more Tom was on the road ignorant of his
destination, or his guide, and only thankful for
some human companionship whatever it was,
and the partial shelter.
" Goin' fur ? " said Mr. Wise, presently, sit-
ting sideways in the sociable manner common to
country teamsters who know their road and like
" To Albany," said Tom, at a venture, and
thinking: the man must be kind-hearted from the
tone of his voice.
" Want to know ! " and a dead silence fol-
OUT OF DANGER. 211
lowed, while Obediah desiring to entertain his
passenger, fished in the void of his imagination
for bait wherewith to gain further information.
"My name's Wise, Obediah Wise, Obed
commonly for common," he said, after waiting in
vain to hear any thing from his silent companion.
" 'Taint so long, and our folks allus did call me
so. What's yourn ? ' asked he abruptly, dis-
concerting his new acquaintance much more
than he had any idea of by the question.
But Tom parried it by another.
" Are you going home ? ' and there was a
faltering in spite of himself on the last word, as
he wished in his heart that he was.
"I be! ' said Obed, complacently.
" Is it far ? ' asked Tom, making up his
mind rapidly, that now was a chance for a
night's lodging as well as a ride. He should not
mind so much asking it of this good natured
" Well, 'taint so far as it might be ! ' and
the tone of the voice more than the words as-
sured Tom that it was not a great many miles
away. "I live out, you see," he added, and
Tom's heart went down again ; perhaps his new
acquaintance had not the power, if the will, to
212 OUT OF DEBT,
'"Taint so much livin' out, nuther," con-
tinued Obed ; " I'm pretty much to hum, after
all's said and done/'
" Is it a farm ? ' asked Tom, dreading,
more than he ever had thought he could dread
any thing, to come to the point.
" Guess you'd think so ! Git up, now, Bill,
rnaby you'll git some oats when you git
there," and Obed's own mouth tasted prospec-
tively the cold corned beef and mug of cider
that he kn^w awaited him.
The horses stepped on more briskly, trotting
it could not be called, though Tom's seat was
far from luxurious, in the absence of springs ; but
that was the least of the once fastidious young
" The Squire and me gits in pritty good
crops, I tell you now," Obed broke silence with,
" Is he rich ? ' inquired Tom, whose part
seemed to be only laconic catechism. The truth
was, he was too wet, and hungry, and down-
hearted to be very communicative.
" Well, he ain't so rich as Greasus warn't
that his name ? I guess you know books 5
by the way you talk, sorter softly nor he
aint so poor as Poverty's back door, nuther ! '
OUT OF DANGEK. 213
with which indefinite information, Tom was fain
to content himself, and trust to the chance of
the Squire's hospitality.
" I'll tell you what he is, though/' broke out
Obed, warmly, "he's the furtherest seem', and
the best dispositioned, and the right-down-
cleverest man you ever did see."
Contented, if such a word could be named
in his forlorn and miserable plight, to know that
he probably would not be sent out into the
storm again, Tom stretched himself out on the
lumber, and made a pillow of his bundle.
Gradually the self-reproach, and anxiety,
and homesick longing, faded into indistinct and
broken recollection, and in spite of the uneasy
motion, the pouring rain, and Obed's monoto-
nous discourse to Bill, and his yoke-fellow, he
He was more exhausted than he knew of, by
this three day's travel, and hard fare, so that
his sleep was almost like lethargy. He did not
rouse up, when Obed stopped the horses, and
got out to unbar the great gate of a lane lead-
ing into the Squire's barn-yard ; or when he
drew up again in the full light of the kitchen
window, to report himself, and request the girl
f 'to hurry up thern corn-beef, for he was as
214 OUT OF DEBT,
hungry as a bear ;" nor when the Squire himself,
lantern in hand, came out on the great stone
As the light fell upon the boy's face, the
hair wet, and clinging in masses to his white
cheeks, blanched by fatigue and weariness, he
was dreaming of his own home, with its bright-
ness and warmth, of his mother's tender loving
care, and that his father had welcomed the pro-
A strange, confused murmur of voices roused
him at last, and rising on his elbow with diffi-
culty, stiff and bewildered, he found himself at
the door of Uncle Peter's homestead, and face
to face with his own father !
OUT OF DANGER. 215
A HARD LESSON.
" Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor's house, lost he be weary of
thee, and so hate thee." PBOVERBS.
To use a homely phrase, Josephine " knew bet-
ter'' than to accept Mrs. Jones's invitation,
which was made for an indefinite length of
" For ever," Clementina said and why not,
for she was an only daughter, and had things
pretty much her own way. When the end of
the term came, and Josephine, who had fretted
too much to learn any thing the last five or six
weeks, departed under the escort of Mr. Jones,
her leave-taking was very unsatisfactory. Miss
Anthon, who was not indulgent naturally, was
displeased with her for not exerting herself still
more than ever to improve advantages she might
never have again. The girls did not make
"half as much fuss over her as thev used to, 1
216 OUT OF DEBT,
and, she was sure, " talked about her, behind her
back." Miss Fanshaw's manner certainly was
cold, but Josephine did her injustice when she
attributed it to the affair of the ring, and that
she was going away without replacing it. Mari-
anne had entirely forgotten it, a very trifling
loss to her ; but she was disappointed in her
little friend, and thought her decision show.ed
little love for her mother, and brothers and sis-
ters. To Marianne, this home love, which Jose-
phine so cast away, would have been the dearest
thing on earth ; but as many have found in
sorrow later in life, it is one of those daily bless-
ings little appreciated until it is denied to us.
Josephine had deliberately taken the wrong
path, and she herself was to blame, that she
found more thorns than roses.
At first it was all very pleasant ; Mrs. Jones
patted and humored both the children, took
them every where with her, and was particu-
larly fond of introducing " Miss Bleeker, my
daughter's friend," to her visitors. They were
not to know it was the " Bleeker ' who had
failed in the spring ; there were many Bleekers
in New York, and none of the Jones's circle
visited them. They were generally fashionable
people, who looked down on the Jones's con-
OUT OF DANGER. 217
nection, as they in turn considered themselves
better than the Smiths.
They lived in a large, modern house, much
handsomer, and more showily furnished than
Mr. Bleeker's had been ; with a full regiment
of servants, so that Clementina " need not turn
her hand over, if she did not choose," as her
mother often said before her. Of course, Cle-
mentina did not choose, and this easy life suited
Josephine remarkably well, also.
There was an absence of refinement both in
the family and their manner of living, to which
Josephine had always been accustomed at home,
with all Mrs. Bleeker's plain and economical
ways. Mr. Jones laughed loud and long at his
own jokes, and Mrs. Jones did not always use
good grammar. Neither was Clementina as
respectful to her parents as Josephine had been
taught was right and lady-like. But she tried
not to see these things, for if there was less
refinement, there was less restraint ; she had no
one to tell her even to practise, if she did not
care to. The regular habits which she had been
accustomed to at home and at school, were sadly
broken in upon. The little girls rose when they
liked, and had a hot breakfast when it suited
them to come down.
218 OUT OF DEBT,
Her reading and her prayers were first put
off, then missed, then omitted altogether.
There was not a Bible in the house, except the
large, elegantly bound quarto in the parlor, and
the one Clementina had used at school ; no
family prayers no mention of our daily de-
pendence on the Father from whom came all
the good and abundant gifts which they enjoyed
through the week ; and on Sunday, Mrs. Jones
went to morning service, only, dressed in the
extreme of fashion, and came home to comment
on the bonnets and mantillas of the congrega-
tion, instead of the sermon. Perhaps she never
heard it, for many people have a remarkable
talent for shutting their ears in church, while
their eyes and thoughts are very busy.
Josephine's first real trouble was about her
wardrobe. Every body knows how shabby ^id
old-fashioned " last summer's dresses ' alwavs :
look, when brought into comparison with the
bright colors, and recent shapes of winter or
Mrs. Bleeker had sent a trunk containing
Josephine's to Mrs. Jones, before she went into
the country, and the young girl, recollecting
how becoming her pink lawn had been, and
how prettily her striped barege was made, had
OUT OF DANGER. 219
no misgivings on the score of appearances, until
the first hot clays of June made a lighter
toilette than the gray cashmere, and bright
palm-leaf shawl , admirable. Mrs. Bleeker had
taken her last year's straw bonnet for Olive, and
sent Josephine a new one, plain, but sufficiently
good to be presentable; the shape and. blue
ribbons were becoming, though the straw was
The little girls were by themselves, in Cle-
mentina's large, luxurious chamber, dressing to
go out with Mrs. Jones.
" What are you going to wear ? ' asked
Clem, laying out a new tissue, with a very
approving glance, upon the handsome French
"My cashmere, I guess," said Josephine,
admiring the broad, smooth braid that grew
under her quick fingers. She stood before a
glass that gave back her figure at full length.
" That everlasting cashmere ! oh, don't do
put on a summer dress."
" Well, if you think it's warm enough ;
mamma was always very particular about our
not changing too early ; I suppose my lawn will
want to be done up, but I can put on my
220 OUT OF DEBT,
Josephine hunted up the key, from a very dis-
orderly drawer, and opened the trunk. There
were linen under-clothes first, for Mrs. Bleeker
was always more particular about under than
outer garments, which Mrs. Jones was not.
Then came the dresses.
The pink lawn had a wonderfully faded look,
beside Clementina's bright painted tissue, with
its gauze ribbon trimming ; the black silk man-
tle, trimmed with folds, which she thought the
height of elegance last summer, was very old-
fashioned, now that every body wore fringe, or
ruffles ; and the bar&ge dress was short- waisted,
as indeed all the dresses were, and came almost
up to her knees. Josephine could have cried
with vexation, as she unfolded and shook out
one article of dress after the other. Mrs. Jones
thought so much of appearances, and these
things, though they might be made comfortable
by altering, and were good enough for a child
of her age, would never be presentable by the
side of the gay toilettes of mother and daughter.
Then she looked so like a fright, and Jose-
phine's vanity was even stronger than her foolish
pride. In vain she pulled down the waist, and
twitched at the sleeves of the refractory barege.
It would not meet on the shoulders, or at the
OUT OF DANGER. 221
waist. It was too high in the neck, too short in
the skirt, but that at least she could remedy, for
it was tucked almost to the waist.
Josephine snatched up the scissors and ripped
out a tuck. Alas ! the barege had faded, and
with all the pressing in the world it would
always show. Mrs. Jones found her crying
when she came back with Clementina, who had
gone to her mother's room, just as the research
commenced. She was kind-hearted in the main,
and it worried her to see any one in trouble, so
she told Josephine that the seamstress should
alter her dresses, and that the lawn could have
a belt set in, which would never show with a
sash, showing such a readiness at alteration,
that Josephine , innocently wondered if Mrs.
Jones had had a new outfit every spring, all her
ife, herself; but she could not help a shabby,
mortified feeling, as she caught sight of herself
in the little mirror of the ferry-boat, sitting
between Mrs. Jones and her daughter.
" Never mind/' said Clementina, good-
naturedly, as she saw the glance and its effect ;
>e you do not look so very warm, and that bonnet
is sweet, pretty, and will do very nicely until you
have a dress hat next month."
" But I'm not going to have a dress bonnet/'
222 OUT OF DEBT,
said Josephine, sullenly, feeling that moment
cross with herself and all the world.
" Not going to have a dress hat ! ; said
Clementina, opening her blue eyes wider than
ever. " Ma, Josephine says she's not going to
have one, after all. Why, we were going to
Malherbe's to look for one this afternoon."
" Oh yes, she will/' said Mrs. Jones, in a
matter-of-course way. " Likely enough her ma
has forgot about it."
" Likely enough ! j repeated Josephine,
sneeringly, to herself. " My ma speaks good
English, any way, if she don't wear French
bonnets ! '
Such an impertinent, ill-bred thought of a
person so much older than herself, and whose
hospitality she enjoyed, would not have entered
Josephine's mind six months before, or, at any
rate, been allowed to stay there. So true is the
copy she had often written, that evil communi-
cations corrupt good manners, without knowing,
it is true, that the warning came from Mari-
anne's book of rules.
The show-room was a perfect flutter of lace,
and flowers, and ribbons ; Mademoiselle Alice
only too attentive. Bonnets, so light and trans-
parent that you scarcely felt their weight more
OUT OF DANGER 223
than a garland in your hand, were pressed upon
their attention. Clementina fixed upon a straw-
colored crape, with violets inside and out,
although her mother and Mademoiselle both told
her it was too old for her, and she insisted on
Josephine's trying on a pale green crape, with a
single spray of sweet briar, which was really
very simple and becoming.
Josephine had never seen herself look so
well. The blonde cap, and tiny butterfly bows,
suited her face, and the whole thing was so
stylish and striking.
" Aunt Lucy Mrs. Hamilton had one very
much like it last season," she said to Clementina,
for Josephine was very fond of quoting her
fashionable relations, since she found it gave her
so much consequence in the eyes of Mrs. Jones.
The remark had a visible effect on Mademoi-
selle, who had not before thought it advisable
to waste much attention on the plainly-dressed
" Ah ! Madame Hamilton ! She does live
in Gramercy Park ! ' said Madame Malherbe,
herself, turning around suddenly. " The very
hat itself was sent from us you remember
Madame Hamilton's green hat, Mademoiselle
Alice ? She has white this season, with blonde
224 OUT OF DEBT,
and crape flowers. She is very stylish, Madame
Hamilton, she is gone to Newport."
Josephine knew this, for she had taken it
upon herself to call in Gramercy Park, the first
week of her stay in Brooklyn. It was very
delightful to have Madame leave other customers,
and overlook Clementina altogether, to wait on
" Mademoiselle wishes a crape hat ; Made-
moiselle has e^-cellent-taste," said the quick
Frenchwoman. " It is very becoming ; shall I
send it to Madame's address ? "
" Oh, no ! ' said Josephine, startled ; for
she had noticed the price, eight dollars, pinned
on one of the strings ; but for that matter she
could not have afforded two. A
" You might as well, Josephine/' said Mrs.
Jones, also flattered at Madame's attention, whe
so many well-dressed ladies were in the roo
She heard one of them say " Mrs. Hamilton's
niece/' and direct the attention of her com-
panion towards them.
" You can have it charged with Clemen-
tina's/' she whispered ; " never mind every
body's looking at you."
Josephine hesitated, and blushed before
Madame's keen black eyes, as if she could read
OUT OF DANGER. 225
her poverty in this indecision. " Madame
Hamilton's niece' could not say she had no
money, though an unknown little girl in a coarse
straw might have summoned courage for such a
" Yes, you may send it home ; ' said Mrs.
Jones, aloud ; " she could not suit herself bet-
ter/' and Josephine, forgetting how she had
blamed Tom for this very thing, and disobeying
her mother's positive injunctions, suffered it to
be laid aside with her name attached, saying .to
herself, "it was all Mrs. Jones she could not
help it," though she knew in her heart that she
might, had she the courage.
The bonnet came home, and Josephine,
stifling all uncomfortable reflections, wore it the
next Sunday ; though she was obliged to own
to herself, that it did not look very suitable with
the somewhat defaced mantle and altered dress.
Clementina's quick eyes saw it, too, and the
next time they were shopping, she persuaded
her mother to get a mantilla like her own, and
a French muslin, which the seamstress made up,
though Josephine remonstrated faintly, and felt
very guilty every time she wore this elegant
Mrs. Bleeker had not thought it necessary
226 OUT OF DEBT,
to write to Mrs. Jones of the charge she had so
positively given Josephine, and Clementina said,
" Oh, Mrs. Bleeker won't mind," and Mrs. Jones
really thought so ; and that, so far from mind-
ing, she ought to be very much obliged to her
for taking the 'trouble of seeing to her daughter's
outfit. She proposed several other additions to
it, but now that she had one nice suit, her young
visitor had the grace to decline them positively.
Josephine had not been at peace with her-
self for a long time, and her once amiable dis-
position changed into fretful irritability, as her
secret disquiet increased. She could not always
stifle thought, and she was not so blind, that
she did not see that her position with the family
gradually altered. Mr. Jones was more nearly
the same than any one, but he had never been
much of a favorite with her. Mrs. Jones, who
was not above the vulgar fashion of " hinting/'
inquired " what her ma said," every time she had
a letter from home, evidently thinking it strange
no remittances arrived, and that nothing was
ever mentioned of Josephine's return home.
Clementina, notwithstanding their eternal friend-
ship, had formed a desperate intimacy with two
very showy sisters, older than herself, who always
took occasion to make themselves very disagree-
OUT OF DANGER. 227
able to Josephine. She had never before been
accustomed to such rich, high-seasoned, and
often unsuitable dishes, as were constantly served
at the table, and to which the girls were helped
without question. All these things had brought
back her nervous headaches more violently and
frequently than ever, and home-sickness, in its
full meaning, always came with the attack.
" Pa talks of going to Niagara/' said Clem-
entina to her one morning, when she had been
forced to lie down immediately after breakfast.
" Does he ? ' she answered, absently, only
wishing Clementina would get through opening
drawers, and banging closet doors to, as she pro-
posed to go out. She often went without Jose-
phine nowadays, and left her alone for hours to-
gether, without even inviting her to join them
sometimes, if the Miss Slopers were to be her
The intended journey, or that she could be
in any way affected by it, passed out of her mind
again, as Clementina left the room. She forced
herself to get up and close the inner shutters,
for she did not like to ask the servants to do any
thing for her lately, they were so impertinent.
It made the room quite dark, but warm and
close, so she got up again and opened the door
228 OUT OF DEBT,
into a little dressing-room where the seamstress
She was almost too miserable to think, as
she lay down again, covering her eyes with her
hands, and pressing her throbbing temples into
the pillow ; but she could not get asleep, try as
she would, and a great longing to see the dear
home faces, no matter how plain the home might
be, or how hard her share of its duties might
prove, filled her mind. But then those dreadful
debts, she must confess those, if she wrote to be
sent for, and ask for the money to pay them
with, and she had so little moral courage remain-
ing ; it would be easy to confess her error, and
return to her duty, but for them, far easier
than to lead this hollow, self-tormenting life.
She heard the seamstress come into the sew-
ing room while she was thinking this, and pre-
sently the chambermaid joined her, and sat down
for a regular gossip. At first she only wished
they would not talk so loud, or would go some-
where else, and then she heard Jane, the
"I wouldn't stay where I warn't wanted,
poor as I be/'
" Nor I," answered the seamstress. " You're
sure she isn't in there, Jane ? "
OUT OF DANGER. 229
" La, no/' said the girl, " she and Clemen-
tina's off flourishin' somewhere ; I heard 'em go
right after breakfast. They're all tired of her,
any body could see that with half an eye ;
though how Miss Jones came to take up with
her, and ask her here in the first place, / can't
see ; after her fathered failed, and all."
" I suppose they thought her ma'd clothe
her, any way, and not let it all come on Miss
Jones. I didn't engage to sew for any body,
when I came here ; I can tell Miss Jones that,
if she tries it again."
" Haint she ever given you any thing ? "
" Not the first thing ; and I altered every
one of them frocks, and made that muslin."
" I should think she'd feel real mean, wearing
that every time she went out, and our Clemen-
tina dressing so handsome. But la, Ann, some
folks is so callus ! She never handed over the
first thing to me, neither, I never lived no-
where before, that the visitors didn't make
handsome presents, did you? What'll she do
when they're gone to Niagara, I wonder ; Miss
Jones means to ask her to-night if her ma's
goin' to let her go along. She aint a-goin' to
stay here to be waited on, I'll be bound. Miss
230 OUT OF DEBT,
Jones don't know what to make of their not
sendin' no money ; I heard her tell Clementina
so, last night."
" What did she say ! "
" Oh, la ! she's right up an' down, Clemen-
tina is ; she said right out, how poor they was
now, and Miss Jones said, then her ma orter
know better than to let her come. Gracious !
how the wind banged that door to ! '
But it was not the wind ; Josephine had
heard all, and a great deal more than she wished
to. At first she could not realize that she was
the object of such insulting comment ; but the
truth, cutting as it was to come through such a
channel, had gone home, and her real position,
when even the servants could talk over her pov-
erty, and blame her mother, forced itself upon
She wrote to her mother a humble, tear-
blistered confession, before the sting of the insult
ceased to goad her, and stealing out of the
house, carried it herself to the post-office. Oh,
how long the week seemed before an answer
could possibly come ; and when it did arrive,
her hands trembled so that a bank bill it en-
closed fell on the floor as she opened it. She
was alone, fortunately, and she did not stoop to
OUT OF DANGER. 231
pick it up. in her eagerness to know her sentence
" My own dear child/' wrote Mrs. Bleeker,
" I will not add to your trouble by any re-
proaches, for I see you have already suffered a
hard punishment. Such dependence is more
bitter than any spoken reproof, and your own
self-reproach, particularly when you come to
understand our position at home, how plainly we
live, how frugal we are forced to be, until your
father's affairs are entirely settled, is punish-
ment enough. He hopes yet to pay off every
dollar, and we all work together towards it ; but
the amount of your various bills comes to very
nearly the sum that I have saved from the
clothes of Olive and the children. I have not
had so much as a new bonnet this year.
" I am sorry I cannot send it to you now.
Your father will have nothing of his own before
the crops are disposed of ; and, kind as Uncle
Peter is, I should not like to ask a loan from
him. You know it is against my principles.
Your journey will cost all that I can spare at
present, for, of course, you will come to us im-
mediately, and we will make you very welcome
in our new home. Assure Mrs. Jones that the
amount will be remitted to her at the earliest
232 o u T o F
E B T
possibility. This is the last mortification, I hope,
which you will have to undergo, in connection
with this unfortunate visit.
" I am sorry I did not know about the ring
before. Tom owned to his father that he had
borrowed all your allowance, and now sends you
five dollars that he has earned himself this sum-
mer,--! will leave him to tell you how. But as
you will probably need it all just now, I send
you one of my own rings for Miss Fanshaw, by
Mr. Lane, who will bring you home. He is one
of our country neighbors, plain, but obliging,
and will probably be in town the day after you
receive this. Do not forget to thank Miss Fan-
shaw for all her kind care and advice to my
' Dear child ! I could have told you how all
this would end from the beginning, but you
would not have believed me, or been contented
and satisfied if I had acted upon my own judg-
ment, and declined the visit for you. But do
not think it was unkind, this is sometimes Our
Father's way ' He suffers us to fall into temp-
tation' that the experience bought so dearly,
may make us wise in due time."
Clementina's ardor revived a little, when she
OUT OF DANGER 233
found Josephine was really going, but on the
whole, she felt it a relief as well as Mrs. Jones ;
and Josephine could but see that it was so.
She did not propose a correspondence, though
their friendship was to be so eternal, according
to the purple morocco album. The Miss Slopers
had it now, and she was to go to school with
them in the autumn at Madame Chegary's, their
mother having persuaded Mrs. Jones that Rock-
ville was "entirely behind the age."
Josephine had the satisfaction of making
Ann and Jane each a handsome present the day
before she left, much to the astonishment of
these young women, who immediately began to
grow complimentary, and make extraordinary
offers of unnecessary assistance, which were at
When her trunk was fairly in the hall, and
Josephine stood at the parlor window, watching
for Mr. Lane and his cab, she could not re-
press a few tears of mortification, at the end
of a visit which had promised so much pleasure.
She drew her veil down over her face to hide
them, and wished she could love Clementina as
she had done at Rockville, or that she could
think Mrs. Jones, who was urging her to " come
again soon/' sincere. It was her first lesson in
234 OUT OF DEBT,
worldliness, and it robbed her of so much of
childhood's faith, life's first treasure.
But Marianne was unchanged, Marianne,
who was stopping at a hotel in the city, on a
long summer tour with her father. She was to
go to see her on her way to the cars, and Mr.
Lane very kindly put himself out of the way to
accompany her there, though Clementina had
known she wanted to go for a week, and had
not offered to help her.
Marianne flew down to the carriage, looking
lovelier than ever, in a pretty plaid silk, and
with not so much as a velvet bow in her abun-
dant hair. She brought her father with her,
who seemed so proud and fond, that it was a
pleasure to see them together ; and said, the
ring which Josephine offered, blushingly, was
u lovely, only it was a shame to keep it, a beau-
tiful emerald for her worthless little pearls."
" I will, though, and wear it as a keepsake
from you, darling, and I hope to see your
mother, and thank her one of these days. I
may pay Joe a visit, mayn't I, papa ? '
Mr. Fanshaw smiled, and said "when he
could spare her/' and bowed and spoke very
politely to Mr. Lane, who was a plain farmer,
with no pretence at all, and a little awkward
OUT OF DANGER. 235
and embarrassed in manner. Clementina and
her mother had ridiculed him, but Mr. Fanshaw
was a gentleman in every sense of the word.
Marianne, on the other side of the carriage,
stood with her hand on the open door. " I wish
I could see you longer, dear Joe, and make you
understand how much I really loved you all the
time, only it grieved me to see you neglecting
every thing so, arid deciding against your own
conscience, as I knew you did. Write to me
very often, and long, honest letters, there's a
" We must not make Mr. Lane too late for
the cars," said Mr. Fanshaw, stepping back on
the pavement. " I'm glad to have met you,
Miss Josephine, and give my kindest regards to
your father, he will remember me."
So the carriage drove off, with another wave
of the hand from Marianne, and Josephine's
face, like her thoughts, was " set towards
236 OUT OF DEBT,
" Owe no man any thing, but to love one another." ROMANS.
"Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth
THERE was the usual amount of bustle the
next afternoon, at the Croton depot. It was
not a very important station, but the lookers on,
and idlers of the village, had collected to see the
train come in. The baggage-master walked up
and down the platform, with an important air,
and a few passengers were waiting to take the
Apart from the rest of the vehicles in wait-
ing, stood an old-fashioned, yellow wagon, with
two seats ; and the horse, in harness by no
means bright or new, had bent down to crop the
dusty grass as well as he could, which his city
brethren would have disdained to do. But
OUT OF DANGER. 237
there was no false pride in our old acquaintance,
' Bill/' to keep him from gathering an honest
mouthful as he could, and Oily, who now held
the reins, was too busy in watching for the
cars, to mind what the horse was about, so he
did not run away with her.
' Here it comes," shouted Tom, appearing
on the platform : don't be afraid, Oily, he won't
even prick up his ears. " Here they are," and
the long rumbling train shot forward in a cloud
of dust, then slackened its pace, and finally con-
cluded to stand still, and let the passengers
" Oh, I'm afraid she has not come," said
Oily, fairly trembling with eagerness, to Katie,
clinging on the back seat, and at that moment
only afraid of old Bill.
Yes, there she is no, it is not yes, it is,
Tom's found her. Oh, how she's grown, I won-
der if she'll know us, Katie. Joe dear Joe !
and unmindful of Katie's terror at being thus
suddenly promoted as charioteer, Olive climbed
down from the yellow wagon, and hurried to
squeeze Josephine's hand, and carry her travel-
ling bag for her.
In spite of her hard lessons, of her good
sense, and all her good resolutions, Josephine in-
238 O U T O F D F, B T ,
stinctively drew back, and felt a momentary chill,
at Olive in her gingham sun-bonnet, and Katie
clinging so helplessly to the back of the yellow
wagon. She had tried to fancy the change,
but she could not make it as great as it really
was, until she saw Tom's hard, brown hands,
and palm-leaf hat, the girls in their sun-bonnets,
and chintz dresses, and above all, " that deplor-
able wagon," as she mentally styled the vehicle
that had taken Uncle Peter to " meeting," for
many a year.
But she made a great effort to overcome
what she knew to be an unworthy feeling, and
stooping down, kissed Olive's glowing eager face
affectionately, before she despatched her to
Katie's relief, and helped Torn identify her
trunk in the promiscuous pile of baggage.
" Oh, wait for the porter, don't try to lift it
yourself," she called out, as Tom prepared to lift
it into the front of the wagon.
" Poh poh, stand around, you don't know
how strong I've grown, look at that arm, will
you ? " said Tom, though fortunately for his
boasted strength, a porter did appear at that
" Where shall I sit ? " asked Josephine,
OUT OF DANGER. 239
hesitating a little before she essayed to mount
into the antique conveyance.
" On the first seat by me I have acres to
"No, with us," begged Katie, " Oily and
me ; I can make myself ever so little, and
there's the trunk in front."
It was pleasant to be really cared for, and
quarrelled over, after so long a stay where " she
was not wanted." " But I think I had better
sit by Tom."
" Of course," said Tom, grandly. " There's
room enough to put the trunk under the seat.
Not fine, but comfortable, Joe. I suppose it
does look shabby, it did to me at first, but I
was glad enough to ride after old ' Bill/ the first
night I made his acquaintance."
" You never told me how it was all settled,"
said Joe, as the trunk was finally disposed of,
and the wagon moved on, Olive still holding
the carpet bag, though Katie had claimed the
" Oh, it was too long a story, and I did not
particularly care to be reminded of it at first ;
I don't care so much now steady, Bill ! You
need not mind him though, Joe ; he's like Obed,
would l rather die than run/ any day."
240 OUT OF DEBT,
" Who's Obed ? "
" Only think, sister don't know who Obed
is ! ' said Katie, astonished at such ignorance.
"Why, Uncle Peter's man, that picked me
up that night. You ought to have seen father !
but Uncle Peter was on the spot, mother and
the children were tired out, and gone to bed ;
the boxes were not even unpacked."
" I know," said Joe, "go on, about Uncle
" Oh, well, he took the case in hand, and said
when a fellow had done wrong, and was sorry,
there was nothing like giving him a fair chance
to mend ; but I don't think I ivas fairly sorry
before I saw how mother felt about it. I say
' mother ' now, almost always, I like it better.
Mother and I are great friends ! '
" And father and Oily ! ' added Katie, who
had lost the whole of the first part of Tom's
" Father's never cross now," said Olive,
sedately, "but I hope you won't mind, Jose-
" Mind what, Humpty Dumpty ? ' ; said Joe,
" Oh, a great many things/' concluded Olive,
OUT OF DANGER. 241
" Such as- said Tom, cutting off a dusty,
road-side thistle with his whip.
" There's only Susan, you know, now, and
old Mrs. Wise ! "
" Who is she ? "
" Sister don't know any tiling" said Katie,
" Obed's mother," explained Olive, " but
Obed milks, and gets the wood, and all that."
" What do you do, Olive ? "
" Oh, I sew, and study ! '
" Study ! ' said Josephine. " I did not
know there was a school within ten miles."
" Yes there is ! and I go ; only think of
that ! and Miss Ann says you "
" Hush, Katie," cautioned Olive.
" What does Miss Ann say who is she ?
what does she know about me ? ' inquired Jose-
Out with it, little one," said Tom.
She says Josephine don't like her very
much, but I told her I did not care, I loved her
dearly, and so did mother."
" Who is it, Olive ? ' said Josephine, quite
" Our teacher, Miss Ann Brown ; mother
thinks a great deal of her."
242 OUT OF DEBT,
" She doesn't visit at our house ! ' said Jo-
sephine, forgetful for a moment of all that had
occurred since she left home.
" Whv not ? she staid with us when she first
came, before Aunt Lucy did ; oh, you did not
know she was there, did you ? '
" Aunt Lucy ! ' wonders will never cease,
thought Josephine. " What brought her up
here she hates the country."
" S h," said Torn, warningly. " I'll tell
you when they're not listening."
" She isn't pretty any more," sighed Katie ;
" and so cross ! I really believe she thinks us
children always in the way ! '
" I shouldn't wonder if you were, most of
the time/' said Tom, aloud; and then, in an
undertone, " Uncle Hamilton's gone off with
some money belonging to the Bank ; and there's
a terrible time Aunt Lucy had nowhere else
to go ; I heard father tell mother it was partly
her extravagance made him do so."
Josephine's face grew troubled ; she had
greatly admired her aunt, and copied her man-
ner as far as she could, at such a distance.
" Poor Aunt Lucy," she said.
" Mother said " began Olive.
OUT OF DANGER. 243
u About our coming for Joe ?" interrupted
" Yes. that we, had better come, and you
could hear all the news from us. But there's
one thing/' and Olive returned to her secret
" You might as well let me hear it all first
as last/' said Josephine.
" We have to sleep in the garret chamber/'
said Olive, with a great effort " you and I,
since Aunt Lucy came."
" Horrors ! ' ejaculated Joe, quite off her
guard, and with a sudden recollection of Clem-
entina's large airy room.
" I wish / could sleep there/' said Katie ;
" it's so funny but mother won't let me."
" It's not so very bad," said Olive, humbly.
She had been trying all along to communicate
this dreadful intelligence cautiously, and had
blundered, after all.
Josephine said nothing.
" Mother fixed it up beautifully," urged
poor Olive, " and Uncle Peter says it's my
" A bower in a garret ! " thought Josephine,
244 OUT OF DEBT,
" Oh, Joe ! how you will like Uncle Peter ! "
said Tom, opportunely, " won't she, Olive ? ;
" Yes, indeed," said Olive, relieved at find-
ing the worst was really over. " He lets us
children do any thing ; and Mrs. Wise said, only
this morning, that Squire Van Kanseller was
like another person since we came."
It was indeed a pleasant change to the hale,
kindly old man, to hear the patter of those little
feet, and the prattle of those childish voices,
echoing through the solitary house, now open,
and " swept and garnished" every where. It
was like a new life; and he would have been only
too indulgent, if Mrs. Bleeker had not set her
bounds, and adhered to them rigidly. Her
presence alone was a blessing to him knowing
that she cared for his comfort, and felt that she
could never be grateful enough to the only
father she had ever known. It was a great plea-
sure to see her husband understand and appre-
ciate his open, honest nature so fully ; and to
see with what interest the once world-worn man
took the kindly teaching of the woods and fields,
seed-time and harvest, to his heart.
" It is almost time for the children," Mrs.
Bleeker said to him, coming out upon the shady
i: stoop," where he was romping with Nannie.
OUT OF DANGER. 245
" Yes, I suppose it is. Only see, Kate she
walked from there to there, holding on by the
"Is it possible ! " said Mrs. Bleeker, holding
up her hands in feigned astonishment.
"And she can say 'cat' quite distinctly.
Say e cat ' for mamma, Nannie say cat, as you
did for papa, just now."
" Yat ! ' lisped baby, holding by the rail-
ing tightly with both hands, and looking up
into her mother's face to hear her accomplish-
" Oh, you darling ! ' cried papa, catching
the round, dimpled baby up in a transport, and
rewarding her with a toss that sent her head
only too near the sloping roof.
" My dear Richard," said Mrs. Sleeker, with
great gravity, "it is a singular fact, that all
your children have learned to walk and talk
pretty much in the same way, only you never
had time to discover it." Baby's mamma looked
so bright and cheerful, so like the Kate Van
Ranseller that Mr. Bleeker had wooed and won,
at that moment, that she came in for a share
of the kisses that were lavished on the little
" Uncle Peter has gone down the lane to
246 OUT OF DEBT,
meet them, how proud he is of Torn/' she
said, as soon as she could speak.
" Yes, Tom is doing remarkably well," and
Mr. Bleeker nodded complacently. " I have
no fault to find with Tom, nowadays. I wish
they would come, I begin to feel as hungry as
" Do you remember how the tea-table used
to wait, once upon a time, and that you had no
appetite for so long ? Tell me, Kichard, do
you feel quite satisfied here ? ;
" More than satisfied, only too thankful to
you for bringing it about, debt is a hard bond-
Mrs. Bleeker put her arm within her hus-
band's, and stood looking out upon the old lawn
with a silent thanksgiving. The shadows of the
elm trees played softly upon the grass, the warm
summer sun lighted up the old-fashioned garden,
with its tall clumps of holly-hocks, and trim
borders of box ; the air was full of fragrance,
and farther on the barns, new and old, told of
an abundant harvest from the wide fields ; while
the kine came up the shaded lane, to the slow
tinkle of their leader's bell. It was a pure
pastoral poem in her eyes ; this home of her
OUT OF DANGER. 247
childhood ; seen under all these pleasant influ-
Katie's shout of " get in. Uncle Peter/' was
heard from the foot of the lane. Katie, who
claimed to be Uncle Peter's favorite, was not
going to have hirn walking up the lane alone, so
she compromised matters, by suffering herself to
be lifted out, and walking up with him.
Josephine's heart beat very quick and fast,
as she found herself really driving up to the
" stoop," as Uncle Peter, true to his Dutch
descent, always called the wide porch ; she was
in a tumult of feeling, shame, gladness, and
thankfulness to be at home again, all mingled.
Her father lifted her out, and in another
minute she stood encircled by her mother's .
arms, with the kiss of welcome and forgive--
ness on her forehead. " We are glad to have you
with us again," said Mrs. Bleeker, as Josephine
stooped down over Nannie, to hide her quivering
" Don't forget me, Joe," said her papa behind
her, and as Peter, with Lucy behind him, came
racing through the hall, the family party was
There was a great deal to be clone in the
way of sight-seeing, and before her bonnet was
248 OUT OF DEBT,
fairly untied, Josephine, the guest of the family,
was called all ways at once.
" Come and see my garden first/' said Tom,
" that's the way I made the five dollars ; Obed
took my things to market for me."
" I'm going to feed my chickens/' said Olive,
" you are to have them now if you like, mother
pays me for my eggs. I'm so glad my ban-
tams are out, just like the dearest little canary
birds ; they are my own. Come "
" Take me/' sued Lucy, who had not let go
Josephine's hand since she came.
"Yat tat," shouted Nannie, feeling very
much neglected in all the din.
Josephine decided to accept Tom's invitation,
as she could not do every thing at once, and she
wanted to ask more about Mrs. Hamilton, who
was not yet visible.
" I was up every morning before five," said
Tom, as they reached his boundary land, "and
did it all myself, with Obed's showing ; you must
go to the barn and see Obed, he's worth know-
ing, I tell you. How do you like Uncle Peter ? ' ;
" He is a dear old man, he's most like
mother, isn't he, Tom ; I feel so sorry about
laughing at him."
" They don't look much alike, but their ways
OUT OF DANGER. 249
are. It was Uncle Peter put this into my
head, and I shall almost have enough to pay off
all I owe, with rny potatoes, and all. For all
Uncle Peter's so good, he told father not to pay
it for rne ; he said when people owed him, and
did not have any money, he let them work it out,
and they felt better satisfied in the end, and
remembered it longer."
" What has become of Charlie Spear ? '
asked Josephine, reminded of him by this allu-
sion to Rockville doings.
" He's made off with himself somewhere ;
his father did not do as ours did, but gave him
an awful caning, old as he is, when he found out
about things, and the boys say he's gone to
California ; I don't believe any body knows,
though, and Mrs. Spear you know, we saw her
that dav ; she's almost distracted. Just look
at these winter squashes ! every one is good as a
shilling, Obed says ! '
"But does Ann, Miss Brown, really come
here ? ' said Josephine, who could appreciate
flowers, but had yet to cultivate a taste for
"Yes, indeed, mother thinks the world of
her, Olive improves so fast ; you did not know I
am to read Latin with her this winter, did you ?
250 OUT OF DEBT,
Mother says it relieves her mind of the only
trouble she had about coming here ; schools for
us there was none in her day, when she and
Aunt Lucy went to Albany. Here comes Olive
Olive, who could not overcome a little awe
of Josephine,, as the eldest sister, and withal,
such a stylish young lady, had come to summon
them to tea.
It was a cheerful, social meal, none of the
little ones being excluded from the table, under
the new order of things. Uncle Peter, who had
resigned his place to Mr. Bleeker, sat in their
midst, and asked a blessing, with his silvery
head reverently bowed, and his thin hands
clasped before him ; and the wayward Josephine
felt, for the first time in her life, how good and
pleasant a thing it was, to dwell together in
There came to be more of the true beauty and
poetry of life to her, in the humble little cham-
ber, where she slept that night, than she ever
would have known in the gay and busy world.
Household love, and household virtues, grew
apace in the young girl's heart.
" Do you know," said Olive, one night, as
they read their chapter there together, " I
OUT OF DANGER.
think this is like you are now, Josephine," and
there was no flattery in the sincere, loving
Josephine stooped down over her shoulder,
and read : " The ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of